Issue # 109 - December 2016 - Kislęv/ 5777.
 Fundación Judaica, Mishkan and the WUPJ-LA at a historical moment
First steps to on the path to an egalitarian Kotel

The sun rises in Jerusalem. It is Wednesday, November 2nd , 2016. It is 6:30 am on a cold morning.

Next to Shaar Hashpot, the gate closest to the entrance to the Kotel, several hundred people are gathering. The intention is to accompany the Neshot Hakotel (Women of the Wall) on the tefillah of Rosh Chodesh. As they have been trying to do for over twenty years.

We knew it was not going to be an easy march and we were not very hopeful that we would be able to get through. When we got to the security checkpoint we had our first surprise: we did not face the habitual no or the police blockade.

But it was not the time to celebrate yet. We would not have easy moments head of us. From the staircase we heard insults and yelling by the orthodox that were approaching. And then they started attacking those who were carrying Torot and even trying to take them out of their hands.

I cannot say what pushed us forward, whether the strong conviction of achieving our goal or the impossibility of understanding how people who proclaim themselves religious attack us in such a violent manner only because one express ones religion in a different manner.
So there we went: putting our bodies forward, resisting the blows and shoving, to try to block the aggression and protect our companions on the march and the Torot that they were carrying.

One by one the Torot were delivered to the female rabbis from liberal movements and they were able, on this day that will go down in history, to go in with them and read them in front of the Kotel.

I was lucky to share this moment with Richard Rotholtz, director of the Mishkan and of the WUPJ-LA. And I am sure that both him and I were not alone. We marched together with those who, from afar, share the emotion of having been today at the right place and time, family, friends and community, who were there with us, marching and singing, taking the first steps on the road to an egalitarian Kotel.

Edy Huberman
Executive Director Fundación Judaica

 Tikkun Olam Seminar for Young People

Based on the values of Tikkun Olam and Maasse Kehilati, the WUPJ and TaMaR are organizing a community service seminar on December 9th to 11th at the community of Regęncia, in the state of Espírito Santo, in Brazil.

Regęncia is located at the mount of the Rio Doce river and is part of the region hit by the disaster with the Samarco dam last year.

One of the missions of this seminar is to foster the idea of social responsibility in young people, not only within the community walls, but also with regard to the world around us.

In this first expedition, the WUPJ, in partnership with young people from various affiliated and partner institutions from all over Brazil, will visit and work with the local community.

If you are between the ages of 20 and 30, register:

If you want to participate, donate books or games that we can take with us and together build a library and game room at the new Unidos pela Vida community center.

 Sympathy for the reform community attacked in Israel

Names of prominent people in present-day Judaism were written next to knives in a not very subtle message alluring to murder

The communities affiliated to the WUJP-LA sympathize with Kehilat Ra'anan and the Reform Movement in Israel as a result of the attack suffered on November 25th .

The congregation's building was vandalized with hate messages, including the names of leaders of the Reform Movement in Israel.

Our movement, through the practice of a Judaism that is alive and coherent with today's world is seen as a threat by those who intend to maintain a monopoly on Judaism.

It is surprising that some (thankfully a few) think they have the right to interpret Judaism sanctions with violence, both verbal and physical. One of the messages on the wall said that the reformists do not have a place in the world to come. We will not speculate on this, we only reaffirm that all we want is to cohabit in harmony in the present world, respecting the opinions of each person and the sanctity of life.

 Believing in the projects of the WUPJ
Rabbi Joseph Edelheit – one of the newest residents of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – celebrated his 70th birthday with a great party at ARI after the Kabalat Shabbat on November 11th . As a birthday present, Joseph and Ilana asked their guests to make donations to the Plaut translation project. We thank Joseph and Ilana for their wonderful initiative, which serves as an example for all of us. As Victor Frankl used to say, what maintains a human being alive is to have a noble purpose in life. And the WUPJ projects, both the Plaut and the Mikrá, are at a high level. It is an honor for the WUPJ-LA to be able to count on the support of such dear people who believe in our projects.

Learn about this and other WUPJ projects and participate.
 Reform Jewish Leadership Seminar in Israel. Join the celebration!
It is common to find alumni of the Beutel Seminar contributing in various ways in the Jewish communities all over the world, including Latin America.

Intended to promote and train Reform Jewish leaders, the seminar includes the study of ancient texts, in loco visits to the Israeli reality, lectures and tefilot workshops. All of this complemented by meetings with scholars, activists and leaders from a variety of organizations, including extended family of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism, as well as all of the others who share our Jewish values.

The next edition of the Beutel Seminar will be on February 16th to the 26th, 2017 in Israel.

See the program on the site. Find out more and register! It is a unique experience.
 The growth of Reform Judaism in Israel
The ordination of five Israeli reform rabbis by the Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem on November 18th confirms the growth of the Reform movement in Israel.

During the last meetings of the Vaad Hapoel of the World Zionist Organization (WZO), the reform communities of Latin America were attended by Ricardo Rotholtz, Arzenu Representative in Argentina who was accompanied by Edy Huberman its Executive Director.

Arzenu is the political representation of the Reform Movement in the WZO. To be able to count on a large number of delegates, each community must, just like Arzenu has in the Organización Sionista Argentina (OSA) (Argentinean Zionist Organization), train leaders who can work in the local Zionist federations. In this manner we can count on a larger number of representatives in the next assemblies and meetings of the Vaad Hapoel.

We know that the Latin American Reform Movement is growing and being recognizes as it deserves. The active participation in the political life of the community is a way of giving our congregations more visibility and a more prevalent position.


The WUPJ-LA has decided to establish a pre-rabbinical leadership and training program. This program, which is called Mikrá, will be the initial kick-off for the training of rabbinical leaders who will arise from our own communities.

The Institute ran as a pilot plan during 2016 and as of the beginning of the 2017 it will be open to students from all over the continent to participate, with a structure of on-line courses and intensive on-site meetings.

Mikrá is an academic institute, with an educational project agreed upon and certified by the HUC-JIR and that will be not only a training center for our rabbis but also an engine that will give momentum to the Reform Movement in Latin America.

 World Zionist Organization in Latin America

Mrs. Gusti, president of the WZO, had the opportunity of exchanging ideas and information, with regard to the Jewish community in Huánuco in Peru and Costa Rica, in order to strengthen the links of the Zionist organization in Latin America and also strengthen ties of friendship with the reform movement.

The main point was to create a Zionist movement in Huánuco and Costa Rica and work with young people, strengthening the Jewish identity of the Jews from Latin America with Israel, and also send young Israelis to work in our communities as part of the Mochilero program, where they could share their experiences and teach Hebrew to the members of the community.

 Connections 2017 – Register with a discount until January 15th

Registration for the 38th international convention of the WUPJ, Connections 2017, which will take place from May 17th to the 20th, 2017 in Israel, is now open.

Those who are interested should register and make a payment by January 15th to enjoy a discount.

Besides being the great international meeting of Reform Judaism, during the next conference we will be celebrating the first Bat Mitzvah for adult women from Latin America at the Kotel in Jerusalem.

For more information on Connections 2017, see the site. Join the event!

 Devarim 31

In December, ARI will issue number 31 of the Devarim magazine, which is the ideal means of communication for Reform Jews in Brazil and for all those interested in current Jewish thinking. The articles in this new issue will have the intent of informing, questioning and mainly making us think. The magazine is distributed free of charge to all those who have registered (or will register) on the site.

Read Devarim! It always has something new to add.

 The Reason for the Fires in Israel, according to Rabbi Elyakim Levanon

The Rabbi of the Shomron Regional Council (in the territories beyond the green line), Elyakim Levanon attributed the fires that devastated Israel during the last week of November to the dry weather. So far, nothing sounded unusual. However the effective contribution of Rabbi Levanon for us all was to reveal the cause for the meteorological disturbance. According to his words: "The country is thirsty for water, we are at the end of November and we still have no sign of rain… The hand of God is causing this because the government of Israel is threatening to destroy the settlements in Amona and Ofra!"

Now it has all been explained.