Pecar, Samuel

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PECAR, SAMUEL (1922–2000), writer. He was born in Colonia López, an agricultural colony of jca in Entre Rios (Argentina). In 1930 his family moved to San Fernando, in the outskirts of Buenos Aires. Between 1951 and his aliyah in 1962 he participated in the literary section of Nueva Sion, the organ of the Zionist Socialist party Mapam in Argentina, and in 1957–58 also in the Jewish daily in Spanish, Amanecer. At that time he published three books that humorously criticized Jewish community life in Argentina: Cuentos de Klein-ville ("Stories of Smallville," 1954), La generacion olvidada ("The Forgotten Generation," 1958); Los rebeldes y los perplejos. Cuentos casi serios ("The Rebels and the Perplexed. Almost Serious Stories," 1959). These works made him one of the most representative authors acknowledged by the Argentina Jewish community.

In Israel he worked in the Latin American Department of the Histadrut, where he specialized in agrarian cooperativism on which he published Manual del Cooperativismo Agrario en Israel (1964) and Manual de Contabilidad de Cooperativas Agropecuarias (1981). In 1969–87 he was a high school teacher in development areas in the Negev.

Samuel Pecar continued his literary work in Spanish, describing his experience in Israel: La edad distinta: confesiones de un inmigrante en Israel ("The Different Age: Confessions of a New Immigrant in Israel," 1970), El hombre que hizo retroceder el tiempo ("The Man Who Turned Back the Time," 1984) and Yo soy mi alquimia ("I Am My Alchemy," 1992), written with much irony. His mature literary texts expressed Pecar's understanding of the utopian components of Zionism in Israel, manifested in two of his novels: El segundo génesis de Janán Saridor (Mexico, 1994) and La última profecía (Buenos Aires, 2001), which appeared posthumously. Thematically and ideologically, these works transcend the limits of the experience of Latin American immigrants, narrating the human existential dimension and the general epic of a new life in Israel.

Pecar founded in 1985 the Association of Israeli Writers in Spanish (aielc), over which he presided until his death. He affiliated aielc to the International Association of Jewish Writers in Spanish and Portuguese and achieved the professional recognition of the Spanish-speaking olim by the Federation of Associations of Israeli Writers. Under the auspices of this federation he co-edited, with Itzhak Gun, the anthology Mi-Sham Le-Kan: Soferim Yisra'elim Kotevim Sefaradit ("From There to Here, Israeli Authors Write in Spanish," 1994), with works of 41 writers. A collection of his works, including unpublished texts, appeared in Argentina after his death: La Ultima Profecia y Otros Textos. Del Schelem Aleijem argentino al Premio Presidente de Israel por su obra en hebreo (Buenos Aires, 2001). Pecar received the President of Israel Literature Award.

[Leonardo Senkman (2nd ed.)]