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MIRELMAN, family of Argentine industrialists and Jewish leaders. SIMON (1894–1978) was born in London, moved to Russia and Switzerland, and settled in Buenos Aires in 1914. Three of his brothers, ROBERTO (1898–1991), JACOB (1900–1990), and JOSE (1902–1996), were born in Russia, educated in Switzerland, and eventually joined Simon in Buenos Aires at different stages after World War I. LEON (1907–2003) was born in Switzerland and moved to Buenos Aires in 1927. There the brothers founded a highly successful textile factory. Simon was president of the Hospital Israelita, B'nai B'rith, the Committee Against Antisemitism (later *DAIA), the Argentine-Israel Cultural Institute, the United Jewish Appeal, and the Israel Bond Drive. He also had a prominent role in the establishment of an office of the American Jewish Committee in Buenos Aires, and was a member if the Board of Governors of the Hebrew University. Roberto was president of the Congregacion Israelita and later among the founders of Bet El synagogue. Jose became a strong Zionist advocate and a leader of the Revisionists in Argentina. In 1949 he moved to Israel. Already in the 1960s he became an activist for the immigration of Russian Jews to Israel, and printed over a million Russian-Hebrew dictionaries, haggadot in Russian, and other educational materials, to be forwarded to Jewish communities in Russia. In the 1970s he supported the exchange of Russian Jews for hard currency, which enabled the exit of over 100,000 Jews. Leon was president of the board of the Seminario Rabinico Latinoamericano from its inception in 1962 until 1969, and for many years the president of the United Jewish Appeal.

The Mirelman brothers were benefactors of many Jewish causes, especially those connected with Israel. In the 1930s they founded Editorial Israel, a pioneering effort to publish books of Jewish content in Spanish. Over 100 titles were published.

Jose's son, DAVID (1938– ), born in Argentina, emigrated to Israel in 1949 and became a biochemist at the Weizmann Institute of Science, known for his investigation of infectious and parasitic diseases in less developed countries, and in particular as an expert in the molecular biology of host-pathogen interactions.

Leon's son, VICTOR (1943– ), born in Argentina, moved to the U.S., where he became a Conservative rabbi and professor of Jewish history, publishing in particular scholarly works on the Jews of Argentina.


V. Mirelman, Jewish Buenos Aires (1890–1930). In Search of an Identity (1990).

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