A year after the Mexico City quake, many Jewish organizations still have no home

A year after the Mexico City quake, many Jewish organizations still have no home

Rescuers from the Mexican-Jewish aid agency Cadena inspect damage in Mexico City following the earthquake last year. (Courtesy of Cadena/via JTA) MEXICO CITY (JTA) — This capital city has yet to recover from last September’s earthquake, which killed over 300 people and left many more homeless. In the trendy Condesa neighborhood, once a predominantly Jewish area here, many buildings have been demolished and others are in a state of abandonment and disrepair.

Among the most affected structures is the cherished Nidje Israel Synagogue, known locally as “Acapulco 70″ for its street address. The massive building, used by generations of Jews — including this reporter’s great-grandparents, grandparents and father — has suffered irreparable damage and most likely will be demolished.

But Acapulco 70 was much more than a synagogue: It served as the surrogate headquarters of the Ashkenazi community, hosted a kosher supermarket, kindergarten and small Holocaust museum. Inside also were the offices of the International Jewish Film Festival and the Ashkenazi Documentation Center, with its thousands of books, photographs and newspapers documenting 100 years of Jewish life in Mexico City.

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“I was downstairs at the supermarket when it started to shake,” Enrique Chmelnik, director of the Ashkenazi Documentation Center, told JTA sitting inside his new temporary office provided by the Syrian Jewish community in the suburban neighborhood of Tecamachalco. “Up until today I still have this vivid image of an old man – I don’t know who it was — standing outside, crying at the sight of the building falling apart.”

Chmelnik was especially impressed that people were going into the building despite the quake, which fell on the same day as one in 1985 that killed thousands and left Condesa completely destroyed. Rescuers work in the rubble after a magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck Mexico City, September 19, 2017. […]

About the author

This article was written by Ian Hayden Parker, Oaxaca Life staff writer, the leading source for English news in Oaxaca, Mexico.

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