Issue # 106 - September 2016 / Av-Elul / 5776.
 "Creating meaningful connections"
Read the testimony of representatives from Latin America who participated in the Bergman Seminar for Progressive Jewish educators in Israel in July. The topic of the seminar was "Creating meaningful connections".

We made various visits to institutions that are related to Progressive/Reform Judaism, in which we were able to see, in practice, how they act. I would like to highlight the advantage of having various nationalities present in the course, because, besides the bonds that were built, the exchange of experiences and the understanding of the different realities complemented the very positive experience of these past 10 days in Israel.

Gisele Meniuk Nigri
ARI - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Participating in the Bergman Seminar was very important to me, and very enlightening. The group was very good, the people that we had the opportunity to meet and the places that we visited will impact my educational practices for a very long time. I learned to see more effectively the contexts that involve the history and traditions of the Jewish people, and to identify in them more value and depth. I discovered a very rich universe for the development of Reform Jewish education, of which I knew little. I felt, above all, recognized, contemplated and welcomed.

Marcos Gandelsman
Jewish community of Recife, Brazil

The seminar was very enriching, besides learning new teaching resources and different ways – which were many times surprising – of utilizing the most popular ones, we were able to get to know the reality of other communities and their various ways of facing and solving challenges. The plurality of the content was also a key point. We were able to exercise our capabilities, discover new ones and learn more ways to bring topics to the classroom in an interactive and interesting manner, connecting our students more and more to the reality of Israel, utilizing new perspectives that reinvent the way in which we tell our story and how we think about our challenges for the present and future.

Sarah Pereira Rodrigues
Jewish community of Recife, Brazil

 What is the role of the synagogues nowadays?

The WUPJ-LA is conducting a survey on our vision of the future with regards to the Jewish communities in Latin America. That is why we really need to know your opinion.

Please answer the survey at the following link

 New phase at the Mishkán Community in Argentina

During the Kabalat Shabbat on Friday July 1st, Rabbi Reubén Nisenbom, founder and President of the Centro de Espiritualidad Judía Mishkán introduced his new assistant, the Rabbinical Student Diego Elman.

In this manner, the emblematic reform institution in Argentina begins a new phase 24 years after its creation.

Diego has filled positions related to education and leadership at important institutions in Buenos Aires. His background includes various aspects of Jewish philosophy and sources. He is a professional counselor.

 Adult women prepare for their Bat Mitzvah

At the end of August, the WUPJ-LA and the Shirat Miriam group began the new "Bat Mitzvah for adult women Project". Classes with a diversified content always related to Jewish identity will be held under the coordination of Rabbi Rubén Sternschein, from the Congregaçăo Israelita Paulista (CIP), and a highly qualified teaching staff.

At the end of the course, there will be a Bat Mitzvah celebration at the affiliated communities, as well as the opportunity to participate in a collective ceremony on May 18, 2017 at the Kotel in Jerusalem, during the Connections 2017 conference.

For more information send an email to:

 Connections 2017: ancient tradition and innovation

Registration is now open for the Connections 2017 conference, which will be held in Jerusalem from May 17th to the 20th. This is an unforgettable conference, which will inspire reform Jews from all over the world, with workshops, seminars, exciting religious services and enchanting visits throughout Israel.

Connections 2017 will bring together leaders, educators, volunteers, activists, professionals, rabbis and young people.

For more information see the website.

 Preparation for the Yamim Noraim

We are getting close to an important period in the Jewish calendar with the High Holy Days – Rosh Hashanah 5777 and Yom Kippur. The communities affiliated to the WUPJ-LA have already started reserving seats at the services. Check the calendar below and find the congregation closest to you on the map.

10/2/2016– Erev Rosh Hashanah

10/3/2016 – First day of Rosh Hashanah

10/4/2016 – Second day of Rosh Hashanah

10/11/2016 – Erev Yom Kippur

10/12/2016 – Yom Kippur

 New book by Rabbi Sergio Bergman honors the 200-year anniversary
 of the Independence and national anthem of Argentina
"Coronados de gloria (Crowned in glory)" (a verse of the national anthem of Argentina) is the new book by Rabbi Sergio Bergman, current Minister of Environment and Sustainability of Argentina, recently launched at a meeting held at the Templo Libertad in /Buenos Aires, during a talk between the author and the writer Santiago Kovadloff.

Rabbi Bergman explains that he decided to write the book when he observed how his father got upset every time that he saw the Argentinean national soccer team not sing the words of the national anthem before the soccer games. "The national anthem is the song that unites all of the Argentineans", Bergman said at the launch of the book that relates aspects of the 200 years of Argentina's independence (on July 9 2016) with the lyrics of the national anthem.

The audience was moved by an interpretation of the national anthem by singer Patricia Sosa.

 Community in Panama has new leadership

The Hermandad Kol Shearith Israel congregation in Panama has elected a new executive board with Dayra Berna as president. The WUPJ-LA wishes good luck and makes itself available to help the Jewish community in Panama. The management team that was elected announced three goals: broaden the community and social activities; fundraising to expand projects; and tzedaká.

 Mazal Tov to the Jewish community in Porto Alegre

The SIBRA is celebrating two important dates. The spiritual leader Guershon Kwasniewski is celebrating 20 years of work at the institution, being honored with a plaque with the following inscription:

Every construction project begins with a small stone

Tribute to the 20 years dedicated to the construction of a unified and solid community that strengthens Judaism for future generations. Thanks you Rabbi Guershon, SIBRA Community - 2016

A few days later, on August 29th, the community itself celebrated its 80th anniversary. Congratulations!

 Beutel Leadership seminar – jot it down on your calendar
Registration for the Beutel Seminar for Progressive Jewish Leadership is open. It is a prestigious ten-day seminar promoted by the WUPJ's Anita Saltz International Education Center in Israel.

The purpose of this seminar is to promote Reform Jewish leadership and will be held on February 16th to the 26th, 2017. The target audience of the seminar are lay leaders and activists of institutions connected to the WUPJ who are committed to working in their synagogues and communities in the next few years. For more details visit the website

 Integration with the Reform community in Lisbon, Portugal

The WUPJ-LA and the Congregaçăo Israelita Paulista (CIP) sent prayer books to the Hehaver/Ohel Jacob congregation in Lisbon, Portugal that recently affiliated to the EUPJ, European branch of the WUPJ.

The first contact for the exchange was made during the biennial conference of the EUPJ in April 2016. To learn more about the activities of Hehaver/Ohel Jacob, visit the website