Community in Paraguay - World Jewish Congress

Established during the latter part of the 19th century, the Jewish community of Paraguay is small, comprising only some 1,100 people. Largely traditional, though not Orthodox, Paraguayan Jewry is highly Zionist and concentrated in Asunción, the capital.

It is represented by the Consejo Representativo Israelita de Paraguay (CRIP), the Paraguayan affiliate of the World Jewish Congress.

WJC Affiliate
Consejo Representativo Israelita de Paraguay (CRIP)

Mariano Mirelman

Telephone: +595 21 662-336 / 447-741

President: Jack Fleischman

Jews began arriving in Paraguay from France, Switzerland, and Italy toward the end of the 19th century, followed by a further wave of immigration in the early decades of the 20th. Part of that migration was comprised of Ukrainian, Russian, and Polish Jews who had previously immigrated to Argentina. Between 1904 and 1905, several families from Argentina settled in Limpio. According to public records, they were received by a band playing music upon their arrival at the port of Asunción. Then, around 1908, the Sephardic immigrants began arriving from what was then Ottoman Palestine. This trend intensified during the First World War with the arrival of a second wave of Palestinian, Egyptian, and Turkish Jews.

Another wave of immigrants from Ukraine and Poland began arriving in the 1920s, assisted by relatives already living in Paraguay. A number of the newcomers settled in Villarica, Artigas, and Borja, though the majority made their way to Asunción.

Integration, both between Jews of differing origins and between Jews and the non-Jewish majority, was initially difficult. The poorest Jewish classes were located in the center of the capital in an area that was called the "Palestinian Quarter." In Villarica, the country’s second city, there was a small but active Jewish community that developed diverse cultural and religious activities. By 1932, there were 120 Jewish families in Asunción.

The Years of the Holocaust

1933 saw the beginning of a new wave of immigration comprised of German Jews fleeing the Nazi regime. Some only passed through Paraguay, while others remained to engage in commercial or agricultural activities. Between 1933 and 1939, between 15,000 and 20,000 Jews from Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia took advantage of Paraguay's relatively liberal immigration laws to escape from Nazi-occupied Europe. Most of the Jews who arrived in Paraguay after World War II were survivors of the concentration camps.


Hebrew University demographer Sergio DellaPergola estimated the Paraguayan Jewish community to number between 1,000 and 1,600 as of 2002. The majority of them are concentrated in Asunción, the capital.

Community Life

Predominantly religiously traditional and Zionist, the official community is comprised of five institutions, all located in the capital: Asunción: the Hebrew Union, the seat of social, sports, cultural, and religious activities; the State of Israel School; Hevra Kadisha and the cemetery; WIZO; Hanoar Hatzion, which sponsors sports activities; and the Beit Chabad. There is also a Conservative temple.

Religious and Cultural Life

Most Paraguayan Jews are religiously Conservative, and even those who attend Chabad are not necessarily Orthodox.

It is a very active community, and the full range of Jewish cultural and religious activities is available to its members.

Kosher Food

Kosher meat is available as Kosher meat is produced domestically for export to Israel, but given the small size of the community, other Kosher products are difficult, though not impossible, to obtain.

Jewish Education

The community maintains a day school that provides primary and secondary education for most Jewish children but is also open to non-Jewish enrollment.


Hanoar Hatzioni provides social and sports activities.

jewish media

Hashavua (the week), an online weekly, covers cultural, sports and religious developments within the community. 

Information for Visitors

The Jewish Museum of Paraguay in Asunción contains historical, documentary, and artistic objects.

Relations with Israel

Israel and Paraguay have maintained full diplomatic relations since 1949. The Israeli embassy in Asunción was closed in 2002 due to budget cuts and reopened in July 2015. In 2005, the Paraguayan Embassy in Israel was closed, again due to budget restrictions, but was reopened in 2013.

In November 2005, Vice President Luis Castiglioni of Paraguay paid an official visit to Israel. In July 2016, President Horacio Cartes made an official visit to Israel, the first by a Paraguayan president. Among other things, he signed a memorandum of understanding guaranteeing cooperation in the field of technological development.

In May 2018, President Horacio Cartes inaugurated the country´s embassy in Jerusalem, but when President Mario Abdo took power in 2019, he moved it back to Tel Aviv. Israel decided to then close its embassy in Paraguay and designate the ambassador in Uruguay as concurrent for Paraguay as well.

Honoray Consul: 

Alejandro Rubín Cymerman

Address: Mayor Fleitas 363 e/Mcal. Estigarribia y 25 de Mayo.

Telephone: (+595 21) 222 592 (RA) or (+595 21) 221 565



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