Jewish-backed Buenos Aires rugby club wins national title

Marcy Oster

BUENOS AIRES (JTA) — An Argentinian rugby team with a Jewish history and many Jewish fans won for the second straight year the national league championship.

The Buenos Aires-based Hindu Club team won the Argentinean national title Saturday after defeating Belgrano Atletic Club, 38-23.

Identified as the Jewish rugby team among the national clubs, Hindu fans display Israeli flags during some matches. Hindu supporters have sung joyfully at several recent games: “We don’t have friends, we are black and Jews.” By “black,” the chant refers not to people of African descent but as a slang term for people who are low class or have darker skin than average, in contrast to the stereotype of blond, aristocratic rugby players.

During the 60s, many Jewish families started to sign up for membership in Hindu. Many Jewish families own homes in and live in the residential sector of Hindu´s country club.

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Despite having Jewish members and fans, Hindu is not a Jewish institution.  Hebraica is the only amateur rugby team in Argentina under the auspices of a Jewish institution, and tweeted a congratulations to Hindu

Hebraica is aggressively recruiting new players, offering free bus service with pickups in five sections of Buenos Aires and inviting Jewish players from other clubs to participate in special activities. It has begun to sponsor weekly rugby classes at primary Bet El, a Jewish elementary school.

The Argentine Federation of Maccabean Community Centers (FACCMA) wants to attract more rugby players to Jewish clubs. It is working to send a rugby team to the international Maccabi Games next year in Israel, twenty years after last Argentinean appearance in 1997.

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