n o t e s
Introduction  • 
Alterity, Representation
I place the terms “Jew,” “Jews,” and “Jewishness” in quo-
tation marks in order to denaturalize their meanings and
challenge the essentialist assumptions that often accom-
pany their use. While I occasionally refrain from using
quotation marks—generally to refer to real people or his-
torical communities—I do not mean to oppose “figura-
tive Jews” and “real Jews.” Quite the opposite, I intend to
underscore the processes whereby even “real” Jews con-
struct their own “Jewishness.”
As of 1994, there were 208,000 Jews in Argentina (0.6
percent of the total population) and 100,000 in Brazil
(0.06 percent). While Mexico’s 40,800 make up 0.04 per-
cent of the population, the Jews of Colombia and Peru
account for a mere 0.01 percent of the total population
in each country (5,000 and 2,900, respectively); these fig-
ures pale in comparison not only to those of Argentina
and Brazil but especially to those of the United States,
whose Jewish population is 5,675,000, or 2.16 percent of
the total population (Elkin 193). The statistics for 1989
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