WUPJ - AmLat - Adition # 124 - March 2018 – Adar/ Nisan 5778
 Pesach - Dialogue and coexistence - expressions of freedom
This year, once again the Jewish celebration of Pesach and Christian Easter will happen on coinciding dates. Pesach is always celebrated on the 15th of Nissan and the corresponding date in the Gregorian calendar varies, which makes the coincidence of the two celebrations less frequent. Perhaps this is an opportunity to exercise one of the pillars of our movement - to promote integration with the larger society - through interreligious dialogue.

Also, in light of the findings of numerous multicultural families in our communities, this convergence of dates presents itself as a potential integrating element of these families and their different traditions.

We have the privilege of living in a time of blessed rapprochement between Christianity and Judaism. By careful analysis we can not attribute the conflicts we had at other times in history to the religious question, merely. When we sing "Avadim aínu" and remember the departure from Egypt, we must also remember that the oppression and slavery to which we were subjected was by political factors, not religious. That is, what matters is not the religion, but the values of the societies, of the families and of the individuals who compose them.

The Jewish-Christian dialogue is strengthened when we can honor, respect and make the proper convergence between Chanukah and Christmas, or between Easter and Passover, for example. Contrary to what some may argue, this intercultural or interreligious approach does not present risks of assimilation, but of exaltation of what makes us different and the recognition of what we have in common. We strengthen our identities as we look each other in the mirror.

  Beutel Seminar

In February, there were 10 intense days of activities, with hands-on classes on the streets of Israel. The 18 participants, representing 13 different countries (Brazil, Australia, Zimbabwe, Belgium, Spain, the United States, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Canada, England and Germany) also had intense debates about topics proposed by the Beutel Seminar for Jewish Reform Leadership' staff: Rabbi Steve Burnstein and by Professor Paul Liptz. Teachers and guest activists wovened the patchwork vision: the challenges and opportunities that exist in the land of Israel today considering its millennial history.

The streets of Jerusalem were explored by the uneasy steps of participants who also learned about new outcomes, acts of resistance and dialogue in the human rights and advocacy arena led by the IRAC (Israel Religious Action Center) under the direction of Rabbi Noa Sattah. The Jewish People's Museum; the dialogue led by Rabbi Meir Azaru at Beit Daniel in Tel Aviv; the welcoming class at Sally Katz's home about ethical and ethnic dilemmas, and meetings with Rabbi Michael Marmur and several leaders of our movement and representatives of the Association Reform Zionist of America (ARZA) were incredible. The conversation with young Bedouins and Jews on their gap-year program of the Jewish-Arab Hagar School in Beer Sheva restored faith in the possibilities of empathic coexistence between the two peoples. The three nights at Kibbutz Lotan made all participants imbued with a deep sense of belonging.

"They were days full of significance! All involved, speakers, guides, teachers, and participants were committed and give their best with great enthusiasm! In my life it was a turning point to meet the WUPJ. Now the time has come for me give back!"
Sandra Strauss, Rio de Janeiro, RJ

"The Beutel Leadership was really amazing. Rabbi Steve Burnstein is the living example of ethical and egalitarian Judaism. Professor Paul Liptz was also sensational! All the programming activities were a sum of knowledge... I felt like I was in a movie with a lot of stories to be told! And the protagonists? Surprise! I felt part of that same tribe! I am grateful to WUPJ for the opportunity to learn so much and I have realized I have so much more to learn."
Jacqueline Moreno, Salvador, Bahia

"I was impressed by the unconventional proposal of the Beutel Seminary to train leaders. The program is based on the acquisition of knowledge in an experiential way and invests in the formation of networks. I was struck by the emphasis on spirituality, emphasizing what community leaders need to have and do, as well as good tools to influence people to pursuit collective goals. Also the sensitivity to connect us as a community and as a people. Gratitude for the opportunity."
Kelita Cohen, Brasília, DF
Reading Torah at the Kotel emotion and pride - by Andrea Kulikovsky

For years now, I have been admiring the work of the Women of the Wall (Nashot haKotel), which fights for the rights for the woman at the Kotel. In order to be able to sing and pray aloud, have the right to read Torah, use tallit and tefillin if we desire to do so.

When I looked at the program of the Beutel Seminary in which I was enrolled and realized that we would be with the Nashot haKotel for the Rosh Chodesh Adar service, there was no doubt I would try to be part of the Torah reading group. With the help of Raul Gottlieb of WUPJ, I got in touch with them and got my parshah.

I studied a lot, I dedicated myself deeply. I felt the responsibility of bringing the Brazilian woman's voice to the Kotel that day.

We woke up early and went by bus to the Kotel. At the traditional entrance, men passed quickly, but we realized that women were being delayed at the security entrance, caused on purpose by Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox women. That's when I heard some women telling we were with the Nashot haKotel group and they were not going to let us in - I was desperate. They had started the religious service and I, who had prepared so much, was outside. A friend remembered the other entrance to the Kotel and suggested we try to get in through there. We ran and we did it. We arrived at the time for my reading!

Women whistled, men screamed, making focusing on the t'filah very difficult. I arrived full of conflicting emotions: the pride of being part of this struggle for women's space, and the sadness of seeing my people disunited and loaded with such bad feelings. It was not a holy place; at that moment it was a battlefield. I read with all that emotion from a parchment - because it was not possible to enter with a sefer Torah in the Kotel.

I read with my heart, my soul and my voice. I understood the meaning of Sisterhood, the strength that comes from the group: the friend who remembered the other entrance and took pictures of that moment; the friend who held tallit as a chupah; all the other women who looked confident that everything would work out. The heavy weight on my back, the pride of being part of this fight, along with my friends from Beutel.
 Rabbin Training Institute begines
Monday (March 5th), the Ibero-American Institute for Reform Rabbinical Education, which has Rab Reuben Nisenbom as its rector, will begin classes.

Both the rabbinic formation in its 3 levels - Metivta, Yeshiva and Rabanut - and the classes for community leaders' education, each encounter has a double combination of face-to-face meetings and online classes.

The Rab. Damian Karo, Dean of the Institute, emphasized the level of academic staff who will teach in this innovative way. This will allow your current 20 students, from 5 different countries, to begin their training.

Ricardo Rotholtz, president of the Institute, mentioned the effort made to put the Institute in operation and it is a response to the needs of the region's Reform communities.

Those interested in studying at the Institute can get in touch through: info@institutorabinico.org

 3rd Tikkun Olam Seminar - for young adults to change the world
Young adults between 20 and 30 years-old, members of our communities and partner organizations are invited to participate, sweat, work, and be in awe in one of the most extraordinary experiences possible. Together we will visit Areal, a small indigenous village at the mouth of Rio Doce that was devastated by the Samarco's mud for more than 2 years ago. In partnership with the local community and activists we will build a more decent, promising and happy future. Participate, spread the word, come to sweat your shirt, stretch your muscles and rejuvenate the heart. More information

"How should I start a testimony about an incredible experience when there is a lack of words and an abundance of feelings? Carrying hoes and tools until my hands were full of sores (...), and at the end see the smiles of the local population with their eyes shinning from so much gratitude. Sometimes we search for happiness in large and futile things, however the real happiness is in the special moments lived with emotion."

Andressa Ledermann Pomeroy, Rio de Janeiro

 Parashat haShavuah Study
Since February 2018, the WUPJ has held weekly Parshat haShavuah study group encounters. These meetings are open to members of our communities and are led by the rabbinical students Theo Hotz. The opportunity to study in groups, to meet and debate, to deepen our Jewish knowledge and to expand our relationships, transforms each encounter into an I-Thou moment, as the thinker Martin Buber (1878-1965) would say: an encounter with the Divine.

"I am excited about the opportunity our partners are having in strengthening connections and deepening knowledge of Judaism through the Torah study group (Parashat haShavuah), taught by moreh Theo Hotz. I thank the WUPJ, a Jewish organization that has given the opportunity for the Jews of northern Parana to become part of a national community."
Alexandre Israel Pinto, Executive Director of Beit Tikvá, Paraná/Brazil

"What do I think of the study of the Parshah? Amazing! To begin with, we are connected via internet in different countries, places and all geared towards the same goal. Theo Hotz is a great moreh. He does not stop answering questions, on top of what he adds due to his history knowledge, which helps and complements the understanding of the text even more!"
Ruth Grinberg, Brasília, Brazil
 Shehecheyanu, v'kiy'manu, v'higianu laz'man hazeh! - Costa Rica

WUPJ-LA believes that educating through a tnuah (youth movement) is investing in the future of our communities. So we have the joy of sharing with you that one more Netzer sniff - Jewish Reform Youth Movement - is in the process of opening up. Netzer has sniffim in 15 more countries around the world, including Brazil and Panama in Latin America.

Our newest sniff will be housed by B'nei Israel Community in Costa Rica under the leadership of two young community leaders - Dalit and Ari - and help from rabbi Dario Feiguin. Thus, non-formal education based on Tikkun Olam, Reform Judaism and Zionism will form the future leaders of the Costa Rican community. Youth movements are the essence of communities who renew and develop themselves.

Contact Rodrigo Baumworcel for more information.

 Recife 2018

In August 2018, WUPJ Latin America will gather in Recife, Brazil to celebrate the immigration of Jews to the Americas, but more than that, to learn, connect, celebrate and strengthen the inclusive and transformative Judaism. When Kahal Zur Israel, the first Southern Hemisphere synagogue was founded, Rabbi Aboab found himself facing a new challenge never studied before: how to celebrate chagguim when seasons are the inverse from previous models. Their responsa (rabbinic responses) defined much of our practices today in our region and in the world.

Come to get to know and understand the historical centrality of the events that occurred and molded Judaism that is practiced today, in constant transformation, harmony and balance with contemporary life. More information

Adult Bat
Approximately 10 women are preparing, since mid-2017, for their Bat Mitzvah, which will be celebrated on August 3rd, 2018 at the Kahal Zur Israel synagogue in Recife during the WUPJ Regional Conference of Latin America. With biweekly classes taught by local and international teachers, under the supervision of rabbi Dr. Ruben Sternschein the bnot mitzvah are learning about subjects such as Tikkun Olam, Jewish Library, chagguim, traditions and more, always through critical and profound lens.

"The experience has been significant and important to me as I have revisited and deepened several interesting subjects of Judaism."

Shirley Jungman Sacerdote
, São Paulo

"Although I am a very liberal person, because of the circumstances, I have often attended more traditional synagogues, with a significant limitation of the role of women in worship services outside the home. When the opportunity arose to attend the course for adult Bat, a new horizon opened up to me. Having the opportunity to better understand our rituals and having the honor of making an aliyah to the Torah has been the unique and most exciting experience of my life. Classes give me this opportunity, but I know it is only the first of a very significant new step! After what I've learned over the last few months, I'll never stop studying Torah again!"
Debbie Geber, Belo Horizonte

 Celebración de Purim
• ACIB/ Associação Cultural Israelita de Brasília – Brasília, Brazil

• Adat Israel – Guatemala City, Guatemala

• SIC/ Sociedade Israelita do Ceará – Fortaleza, Brazil

• ARI/ Associação Religiosa Israelita - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

• Beit Tikvá – Paraná, Brazil

• Congregación B'nei Israel – San José, Costa Rica

• CIM/ Comunidade Israelita Mineira – Belo Horizonte, Brazil

• CIP/ Congregação Israelita Paulista – São Paulo, Brazil

• Comunidad Israelita de Concepción - Concepción, Chile

• Mishkán - Fundación Centro de Espiritualidad Judía –
Buenos Aires, Argentina

• Ruaj Ami Cominidad Religiosa y Cultural – Santiago, Chile

• SIBRA/ Sociedade Israelita Brasileira de Cultura e Beneficência – Porto Alegre, Brazil