Teubal, Ezra

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TEUBAL, EZRA (1886–1976), leader of the Aleppan and the general Jewish community in *Argentina. Born in *Aleppo, *Syria, the eldest of the Teubal brothers, Ezra immigrated to Buenos Aires in 1903. He received a traditional religious education and studied French in the *Alliance Israélite Universelle and English in an American Protestant School in Aleppo. No sooner had he established himself in Argentina than he took steps to bring his brothers and all the family to Buenos Aires.

In 1912, he set up, together with his brothers, a textile imports company: Ezra Teubal Hermanos. In the 1920s, when most Syrian Jews were still peddlers and the most successful were importers or merchants, the Teubal brothers' business became one of the most renowned industrial textile factories in Argentina. Among his many activities, Ezra was appointed treasurer of the Textile Section in the Argentine Industrial Union for many years.

Moreover, he took an active role in Jewish communal affairs. He supported and sponsored numerous and different kinds of Sephardi and Ashkenazi religious, philanthropic, cultural, and sports organizations. He participated in the foundation of almost all the early Aleppan institutions, such as the burial society, Hessed Shel Emeth, which changed into the communal organization Asociación Israelita Sefaradi Argentina (aisa), and was its first president in 1924–30. He supported, among others, organizations such as Hospital Israelita, Asilo de Huérfanos Israelitas, Club Náutico Hacoaj, B'nai B'rith, Alliance Israélite Universelle, the Museo Judío, and the local Friends Association of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Furthermore, he was fully committed to anti-Nazi campaigns and to the promotion of the early Zionist activities of the Sephardi Jews. He was very active in the support of the foundation of the State of Israel. He participated in the establishment in 1918 of Geulat Sion, the first Zionist group constituted by Sephardim, and was its first president. In 1936 he was one of the Argentine delegates to the World Jewish Congress elected by daia – the roof organization of all the Jewish associations. Teubal was president of the Comité Intercomunal Sefaradi pro "Geulat Haaretz," established to found a Sephardi settlement in Palestine, to be named "República Argentina." He was president of the local Jewish Agency. Like all of his brothers, he was a strong supporter of the Centro Sionista Sefaradí, the jnf, and the Comité Sefaradí Pro-Keren Hayesod. He was the first contributor to the establishment of Beit Harashal Seminary in Jerusalem for the instruction of rabbis and spiritual leaders for the Sephardi communities in Israel and the Diaspora.

In the 1950s and 1960s, as the Aleppans took their first steps toward a process of Orthodox religious revitalization under Rabbi Itzhak *Chehebar, Ezra Teubal, as well as other modern-oriented leaders, began to exert less influence on the community. Afterwards he gave his support to the foundation of Conservative and Reform synagogues in Buenos Aires, such as Bet El and Emmanuel. When he died, the central religious ceremony was organized by more than 30 institutions in an Ashkenazi Temple, the Congregación Israelita de la República Argentina.

[Susana Brauner (2nd ed.)]