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Tobias Kamenszain

KAMENSZAIN, TOBIAS (1918–2000), lawyer and leader of the Argentinean Jewish community. Kamenszain was born in Ostrow, Poland. In 1928 his family emigrated to Buenos Aires. In addition to studying at a state school he attended the Hebrew school of the Zionist Federation (General Zionists). He joined Ha-Shomer ha-Ẓa'ir as a teenager and in 1939 began his university studies, which he completed in 1946. He also joined the Right Po'alei Zion Party and was close to one of its leaders, Moshe Kostrinsky-*Kitron. In 1946 he married Eva Staif, a graduate in biochemistry. Her family was very active in Jewish life, and her father, Moshe Staif, was one of the founders of the Zionist Bialik School in Buenos Aires. Eva was much involved in Jewish education and for many years directed the ORT school. In 1947 Kamenszain was elected to the central committee of Right Po'alei Zion and became secretary of *Keren Kayemet with Isaac Kaplan as chairman. Subsequently he was secretary of *Keren Hayesod. When Yitzhak Harkavi made aliyah, Kamenszain was elected secretary general of Po'alei Zion. In 1960 and 1966 Kamenszain was elected chairman of AMIA-Ashkenazi Community of Buenos Aires. In 1966 he was also elected chairman of the Vaad Hakehilot – the federation of all the Jewish communities of Argentina. Among other positions, in the 1960s and 1970s he headed the board of Hamidrasha Haivrit (high school for Jewish studies and seminar for secondary school teachers) and in the 1990s the Keren Kayemet of Argentina.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.