Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another


Goodbye to All That

For generations, the Jews of Caracas had idyllic weather, prosperity, and vibrant communal organizations. Things changed under Hugo Chávez.

Print Email
Colegio y Centro Social, Cultural y Deportivo Hebraica, the hub of social life for Jewish Caracas, Venezuela, under the slopes of the Ávila mountain.(Matthew Fishbane)

The Jewish community in Caracas has long been lively, prosperous, tight-knit, and devoted to the country that accepted so many of them as refugees during and after World War II. At its height, it numbered as many as 40,000 people. But in the years since President Hugo Chávez came into office, their sense of well-being has eroded significantly. Like other wealthy Venezuelans, they have seen their economic opportunities diminished. Unlike other wealthy Venezuelans, they’ve been singled out in a rhetoric of class warfare that is sometimes implicitly, other times explicitly, anti-Semitic. In a few cases, that rhetoric has led to violence, as in 2009, when vandals broke into the Mariperez Synagogue, defacing it with anti-Semitic graffiti and destroying property. With their future uncertain, younger Jews are leaving Venezuela in droves, in many cases with their parents and grandparents following in their footsteps. Tablet’s Matthew Fishbane traveled to Caracas to report on how the community is faring, and he speaks with Vox Tablet host Sara Ivry about whom he met, what he saw, and what would be lost if just a handful of Caracas’ Jews remain. [Running time: 18:00] 

Print Email

Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.

Carla Candia says:

I’m a Venezuelan-American reporter based in Caracas and I worked on a feature for the World Policy Journal about this same issue. Here is the link in case your readers are interested.

Would be great and important to translate this in spanish to spread this to Latinamericans who do not domain english!

jorge isaac zeballos stepankow says:

Please,! Jewish drom-amerikain audiences want more information on what is happening and will happen in Venezuela. Tablet is always the best and friendliest source of opinion.


Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

Goodbye to All That

For generations, the Jews of Caracas had idyllic weather, prosperity, and vibrant communal organizations. Things changed under Hugo Chávez.

More on Tablet:

Blum’s Day

By Yale University Press (Sponsored) — Sociologist Pierre Birnbaum says it’s time Léon Blum—French socialist, Zionist, wartime hero and Prime Minister—got his due