Inside Jewish Argentina LGBTQ+: Exploring My Identity

posted May 7, 2024 by Julia Rosentsvit, Marion Lemesh Fellowship Recipient

If someone told me a year ago that I would go to Latin America with a group of queer Jews on a trip to rediscover my identity, I would probably laugh it off – there couldn’t be anything so awesome! Lucky for me, I was selected as a Marion Lemesh Fellow, and I was gifted the opportunity to fly over the ocean and experience it for myself. 

Inside Jewish Argentina was a truly unforgettable experience that combined learning, community connections, and self-actualization. And I’ve made great friends on both American continents! This one week in Buenos Aires lifted a veil on many facets of Jewish life in a different environment across the globe. We got to experience a beautiful Shabbat organized lovingly by a local community, learned traditional dances with Jewish youth event organizers, and learned about queer Jewish artists and their work.  

My understanding of Argentina’s historical contexts and contradictions was minimal prior to my arrival and by the end of the trip, I felt enriched with so much information. The trip gave me the opportunity to hear many first-hand accounts of politics and culture in the region. We learned about the progress they have made in the queer human rights department and spoke about what daily life is like for queer people and Jewish queer people in the city. Meeting the first lesbian couple to ever have a chuppah in Latin America and hearing their story was so inspiring and touching. Then it was such an honor to meet the mother of Effy Beth, a trans Jewish artist who is no longer with us.  

Being there during the election was extra mind-blowing because of all of the events unfolding around us… history in the making and all. I managed to connect afterward with some of the people we met on our stops and ask more questions and have beautiful discussions about what it means to be Jewish today for us, people from such different worlds, and I am so grateful that all of this happened.  

We were joined by spectacular humans every day on this trip and it was a blessing. An important realization I took home is that Jewish values and Queer values have way too much in common and we need to put effort into exploring all these connections further, individually and collectively. Following the trip, I was very lucky to meet more Jewish queer people in my city and connect with them — maybe having it on your mind somehow helps the universe bring it closer to you. Many thanks to the Marion Lemesh Fellowship for making this opportunity possible for me.

The Marion Lemesh Fellowship, endowed in memory of Marion Lemesh z”l, is designed to strengthen links between communities around the world by providing young adults the experience to travel, learn, and explore the world in an impactful and meaningful way.