The Nascent Jewish Community of Huánuco, Peru:
Two Years Later
Rabbi Peter Tarlow
Texas A&M Hillel Director and Rabbi
In 2008 Rabbi Peter Tarlow of Texas A&M Hillel wrote an article for Kulanu about his journey to the Peruvian Highland city of Huánuco and its nascent Jewish community. In March of 2008, Rabbi Tarlow traveled to Huánuco with five of his Hillel students to found a Jewish community approximately 400 kilometers from Peru's capital city of Lima. During the next year these efforts began to root and enough progress was made to return to Huánuco this time with eleven more students.
March 2010 saw TAMU Hillel students making their third trip to Peru with a stopover in Panama where we viewed the Panama Canal. This year's journey centered on three aspects. From a tourism perspective the students visited multiple archeological sites including the world famous Chavin site where the head archeologist provided an in-depth private tour.
After multiple adventures the group arrived in Huánuco here Hillel students helped with the conversion ceremonies of over forty people, worked on the synagogue and participated in six wedding ceremonies. Our Hillel students returned to the United States not only appreciating the economic advantages that the US offers but understanding what it means to be Jewish and how many people around the world, travel great distances and sacrifice both time and money in order to become part of the Jewish people.