Montevideo, Uruguay

February 27, 2023

Before I post about Montevideo, here is the beautiful sail away sunset from Buenos Aires.

For our day in Montevideo, we chose the Jewish Heritage of Montevideo tour. This was our second visit to this city and last time we covered the most important buildings in the town and learned about the culture, so this time we wanted something more specific. Our first stop was the Holocaust Memorial. Our guide was Beatriz and she talked about her own Jewish heritage.

The memorial is on the coast and it is really very well done with lots of symbolism. There were originally about 60,000 Jewish people in the city, many escaping Russia and the czar and others fleeing from the Turkish Empire. Now there are only 8 – 10,000. There are several synagogues in the city and we will visit two of them. The one we won’t visit is the most beautiful, but visitors must submit their passports three days in advance to visit, obviously not possible for us.

The memorial is about 120 meters long and is mostly made of pink granite, with a central window looking out at the sea. A pair of railway rails are at the approach and the central part of the memorial has two wooden bridge crossings. It opened in 1994 as a memorial dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust. The memorial was renovated after several acts of destruction with anti-Semitic slurs.

We had about 45 minutes to walk around the site. There are several placques present, including one by Elie Weisel. They are all in Spanish but you could find a few words that gave you the intent.

After this visit, we went to the Yavne synagogue and school. A young woman from Israel who is doing one year of volunteer work here gave a talk about the synagogue and school. She described it as a place of joy – and the joy radiated in all she said. Everyone is welcome here, which she said is very different from the one she attends in Israel.

There were many students and families there. We were told not to take pictures of the children, and I wanted the picture of the dog. Since this student’s face wasnt in the picture, the young volunteer said it was OK.

Our second visit was to a conservative synagagogue, Tehilat-David. This one was more modern.

We got to see their torahs.

Sfter this visit, we went to Independence Square. Beatriz told us more about the country. There are 3,400,000 people in the country and half live in Montevideo. Voting is obligatory and you lose citizen privileges if you don’t vote. The presidential term is 5 years with no second term. There are lots of homeless people and the minimum wage is $500/month. Inflation stands now at 9 %. They, like many other places, have had months of drought.

After our tour and lunch, we went out for a walk in town and went to some of the shops that we remembered from our last visit. No purchases this time. We wanted to visit the Carnival Museum but it is closed. Here are the window decorations.

On the sail away, we saw this group of abandoned ships. And here is one of the tugboats that we depend on to get the ship in the right position to leave the harbor. Amazing to watch.

Bye for now, Uruguay!
This entry was posted in Excursions, February, South America, World Cruise #4. Bookmark the permalink.

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