Ministro de Cultura de la Nación: «Soy católico con origen sefardí»

Pablo Avelluto relató por primera vez la historia de sus orígenes sefardíes en el Centro de Investigación y Difusión de la Cultura Sefardí, ante un salón lleno de personas expectantes por conocer su historia, la cual estuvo signada por el exilio, la diáspora, la transmisión de una cultura, de valores y del coraje de dejar todo atrás para comenzar de nuevo.

Con un tono pausado relató, casi como si escribiera un libro, la historia de su abuela Gentil Calderón, quien nació en la ciudad de Esmirna, Turquía, en 1905. Ella vivió con su familia cerca del puerto, en el barrio judío. Cuando tenía cerca de 15 años se casó en Buenos Aires con Salomón, con quien tuvo seis hijos. Enviudó a finales de la década del 30′. «Ella siguió hablando judeo-español (ladino) hasta el final de sus ideas», señaló Avelluto en referencia a su abuela.

«Tiempo más tarde, los seis hijos de mi abuela hicieron la vida que han hecho tantos otros inmigrantes: estudiar, formarse, emprender sus propias actividades como un comercio o el derecho. Las chicas se casaron con señores judíos. Pero mi abuela en 1940 estaba viviendo en La Pampa, más precisamente en un pequeño pueblo llamado Lonquimay. Sola con sus hijos tenía un almacén llamado ‘El porteñito’ y además era la dueña de la generadora de electricidad del pueblo. Esto lo descubrí hace poco porque, googleando su nombre, encontré que fue quien generó las condiciones para luego fomentar una cooperativa para que el pueblo tuviera luz seis horas por día», contó.

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Continuando con la historia de Gentil Calderón, Avelluto comentó que años más tarde conoció a un hombre: «En ese pueblo conoció a un señor de origen católico, solterón y 15 años mayor que ella. Se terminó casando con él, para escándalo de la familia porque era sefardí. Ese matrimonio vivió junto hasta la muerte de mi abuelo en 1981, pocos años antes de la muerte de mi abuela. Se amaron profundamente, eso lo llegué a ver, y de ese segundo matrimonio tuvieron una única hija, que es mi madre, Carmen García Calderón. Ahí descubrí una de las características de todas las comunidades de inmigrantes que después llevó a que mi madre, un día jugando con mi abuelo a que debían marcar un número al azar, si era hombre atendía mi mamá y si era mujer mi abuelo, resultó que atendió mi madre al que tiempo más tarde sería mi padre, Rubén Avelluto».

«Mi padre era hijo único de madre soltera en las casas de la aristocracia porteña de Recoleta/Barrio Norte. Que había tenido un romance fugaz con un músico de tango, la mamá del papá, que la dejó embarazada y partió detrás de la bohemia. Mi madre y mi papá se encontraron y unieron sus vidas. Para la ley judía eso implicaba que los hijos de mi madre serían judíos, pero para darle el gusto a mi abuela paterna, la mamá de mi papá, decidieron bautizarme católico. Así que de alguna manera yo tengo una bi-nacionalidad, doble pasaporte».

«Mi abuela mantenía sus raíces en el lenguaje y en la gastronomía. Empezó en una tradición muy curiosa porque en mi casa comemos comida judía para Navidad. Lo normal era ir a comer a lo de mi abuela a comer comida judía. Pero al mismo tiempo había otras cuestiones significativas que tienen con ver con qué significa ser judío, qué significa ser algo. Mi abuela cumplía como tantos judíos inmigrantes los rituales tradicionales que armaban su propia liturgia. Convivíamos con mis primos que sí habían sido criados con una mayor pertenencia a una tradición judía porteña. Pero de algún modo yo no me sentía tan judío o menos judío o no tan católico. Las palabras siempre son un poco duras: mestizaje, asimilación, casamientos mixtos. Esas palabras a veces generan un cierto dolor en quienes viven esas situaciones, que se venían repitiendo de generación en generación. Si bien yo me casé y viví muchos años con una chica judía, mis hijos son judíos con apellidos italianos»

El ministro de Cultura profundizo en sus sentimientos por tener dos padres de diferentes religiones: «Al mismo tiempo, esa visión desde la frontera permite ver cosas que si estás adentro resulta más difícil hacerlo e intentar entenderlas. Al principio lo veía como una limitación, hubiera preferido tener dos padres judíos o padres católicos, ya que el mundo sería más fácil y las respuestas más simples, pero después lo viví como una oportunidad. Sobre todo cuando empecé a conversar más en profundidad, la verdadera intención de los legados que llegaban a mí que iban más allá de la pertenencia, que es muy importante sin dudas, esa cuenta más larga se expresaba en ese enorme desafío de apertura de lo desconocido que habían tenido nuestros abuelos inmigrantes. Había una construcción de algo nuevo que a mí siempre me conmovió y que siento que nada de lo que he hecho está a la altura de los desafíos de haber dejado su propia tierra para embarcarse hacia algo que era tan inimaginable como lo era América a principios del siglo XX».

«Los argentinos estamos hechos de abuelas como la mía y como la de ustedes (…) En agradecimiento a mi abuela cuando me vino a visitar Mario (Cohen) sentía la obligación de sentirme parte de la comunidad. Nuestra responsabilidad es que esos legados no se pierdan, y que esa identidad aún en la mezcla de lo contemporáneo, de esta construcción colectiva, siga manteniendo un lugar para la identidad de esos judíos turcos que hablaban el español del siglo XV y que se acercaron un día, sin saberlo, a tener un nieto ministro de Cultura», de esta forma simple y emotiva Avelluto cerró su presentación con un aplauso cerrado que se mantuvo por algunos minutos y que lo hizo emocionar.

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