July 3, 2011

While reporter Juan Forero documented the waning days of Argentina’s Jewish gauchos [“Jewish gaucho tradition fades in Argentina,” news story, June 24], for us they are a community that is very much alive.

Steadfastly dedicated to preserving their way of life, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, together with the Argentine Jewish community, provided a robust relief program for Jews living in the provinces during the country’s crushing 2001 financial crisis.

Today we ensure medical aid, housing subsidies and other support to many of the remaining gauchos and their descendants throughout Argentina. Within the past four years, we’ve sent large groups of young Jews from Texas to the Argentine frontier to help repair the community’s remaining synagogues and community centers.

Like many of the world’s remnant Jewish communities we help sustain, we are hardly bidding farewell to these tough Jewish pioneers.

Steven Schwager, New York

The writer is chief executive of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.