I found this chapter by Raanan Rein incredibly interesting due to the fact that when I first started reading the chapter it seemed like an unlikely and unique story. In this chapter the author focuses on how Jewish immigrants making their way to a neighborhood in Buenos Aires fell in love with their local soccer club, Atlanta, and as a result the Jewish immigrants had an easier time assimilating into Argentinian culture. I also like how this story ties into other ones we have heard earlier this semester like how Africans in Brazil found themselves creating a homogenous Afro-Brazilian culture through support for Africans in the Brazilian national team. This story differs though, just based on how much smaller scale this is as it only relates to the population of a single neighborhood rather than an entire country.
Something about this story is especially feel-good because often times marginalized communities who migrate to countries across the globe find themselves in similar situations to where they came from, all due to prejudice from other groups. Here in Buenos Aires, soccer rules all. It is like a religion, and by far the most popular past-time, either by playing or by watching. For the Jewish and Romani immigrants that made their way to Buenos Aires the best way for them to feel Argentinian was to rally together and support Club Atlanta. Over time the immigrant fans of Atlanta became more than just fans, with at least one board member of the club being Jewish in the 1920s and 1930s and after a few decades became majority board members. That’s not to say they ran the club any different though, and on top of Club Atlanta Jewish community members in Buenos Aires began making their way up the social ladder in other aspects too like local businesses. During this passage of time Club Atlanta gained the fond nickname of “Bohemios”, which loosely meant vagabond and encompassed the characteristic held by the Jewish community in Buenos Aires.
Overall, my biggest takeaway from the chapter was that without Club Atlanta to support, the Jewish and Romani immigrants in Buenos Aires would have almost certainly had a slower time integrating into the Argentinian culture.