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Issue # 54 – November 2011 / Cheshvan / Kislev 5772
Latin America is the center of attention

The main leaders of the WUPJ visited Latin America during the month of November.
First, during one week, Rabbi Joel Oseran, vice president for international development WUPJ Igdaloff accompanied by David, chairman of the AIP - Asociación Israeli de las Pampas, visited several small communities in the interior of Argentina in a rare opportunity to meet the important work done by AIP.

The complete delegation began their visit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where they participated in a meeting of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency for Israel.

The group consisted of: Rabbi Stephen Fuchs, president of the WUPJ; the chairman of the institution Mike Grabiner; Stephen Breslauer, honorary member of the executive board of the WUPJ and co-chairman of the Yad B' Yad Task Force, whose intention is to encourage activities within the congregations in Latin America; and the president of the Jewish Community Foundation (USA), Roberta Herman.

While in Argentina, the group also participated in planning meetings – also with the presence of Rabbi Joel Oseran, Vice President of International Development of the WUPJ – for the 4th Conference of the Jewish Communities in Latin America, to be held in Buenos Aires on August 8th to the 13th, 2012. The group met with representatives of the affiliated congregations in Argentina: Mishkan, NCI-Emanuel, Fundacion Judaica, AIP and Tamar.


The organizational meeting for the event which will be conducted next year was also attended by Miriam Vasserman, president of the WUPJ-LA; Raul Gottlieb, vice president of the WUPJ-LA; Berta Zylberstajn, executive secretary of the WUPJ-LA; Erika Wolff, volunteer of the WUPJ-LA.

The world leaders of the WUPJ took advantage of the trip to Argentina to visit the Lehavat Jaim community in Avellaneda, municipality within the Buenos Aires metropolitan region. They were invited by David Igadaloff, president of the Asociación Israelita de las Pampas (AIP).
After participating in the Arvit religious services, the group attended a musical presentation.

Brazilian Youth

From Argentina, the WUPJ leaders went to Brazil, where they were surprised by the participation and involvement of the young people in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

At the Congregação Israelita Paulista (CIP), close to 60 youth students at the Manhigut course, that prepares undergraduate students to be community leaders and also members from movements Chazit Hanoar and Avanhandava and from the Fritz Pinkuss Study Camp demonstrated enthusiasm when speaking
about Judaism and Israel in a meeting held before the Kabbalat Shabbat.

"It is very nice to see so many young people together involved in the future of Judaism. I am extremely moved and honored to be able to speak to young people like you, future leaders. You are our promise, our future and I can say that what you are doing is important not only for our community, but also so that we may have a better future", stated Rabbi Fuchs.

In Rio de Janeiro, the WUPJ leaders had dinner with the board of the Associação Religiosa Israelita (ARI) and the next day had breakfast with 40 young members of the congregation. They also taped an interview for the TV show of the Israeli Federation of the State of Rio de Janeiro (FIERJ) and met with the directors of the Jewish schools in Rio and with activists from ARI.

Rabbi from the USA visits Brazil

The Rabbi Roberto Graetz, vice president of
the North American Council of the WUPJ and
part of the clergy at the Temple Isaiah in California (USA), visited the Jewish communities in Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre, Belo Horizonte and Manaus, in a joint initiative with the Israeli Confederation of Brazil (Conib).

The first stop was Manaus, where he met with entire families, including children, at the Hebraica and at the local synagogue. The topics of the lectures included contemporary Judaism, Israel: its virtues as a modern state, problems and future vision.


In a chat with 18 young people between 20 and 30, themes were: Judaism and human rights - which he commented on his experience during the dictatorship in Argentina; the role of rabbi Henry Sobel in the episode in the death of Vladimir Herzog; Judaism and social justice - pointing Israel as a reference for social justice citing cases for refugees from various conflicts (such as Darfur and Vietnam) and the internal social activism.

At the SIBRA, in Porto Alegre, the rabbi conducted a lecture on the night of Kristallnacht, November 9th. In the capital of the state of Minas Gerais, Graetz met with local leaders
and spoke about anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. He also spoke with students of the Theodor Herzl School – the only Jewish school in the state of Minas Gerais.

In Rio de Janeiro, the rabbi participated in the Kabbalat Shabbat and discussed the subject "Why Pray?" The following day, he celebrated the Havdalá ceremony during his visit to the
Pão de Açucar Mountain. Graetz also gave an interview to the ARI70 project since he was a rabbi at the institution for almost 20 years.


Community in Argentina celebrates 105 years

The Coronel Suárez Jewish community, in the province of Buenos Aires, recently celebrated 105 years of its foundation. Presently, this religious center is the headquarters of the Asociación Israelita de las Pampas (AIP), created eight years ago to develop activities focused on small communities in Argentina.

The anniversary will be celebrated with the presence of the president of the AIP, David Igadaloff and his wife, Nilma; Rabbi Sebastián Vainstein; the professor Mariano del Prado; and the religious leader Guershon Kwasniewski, of the Sibra (Sociedade Israelita Brasileira), from Porto Alegre, Brazil.

The festivities will also be marked by a performance of the Kef orchestra and by the inauguration of a monument in honor of the victims of the Holocaust.

Monument to the Shoah - Cel. Suarez, AR

Project "Torah - from around the world" – Rabbi Guido Cohen

The WUPJ began the project "Torah - from around the world" with the objective of presenting
visions and interpretations of the weekly portions of the Torah from Progressive Judaism's religious leaders throughout the world.

Within Latin America, in the month of November, Rabbi Guido Cohen, Director of Jewish Studies
at the Tarbut School, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and member of the leadership of the WUPJ in
Latin America, participated with the Chayei Sarah Parasha (Genesis 23:1-25:18).

This year, Rabbi Michel Schlesinger, form the Congregação Israelita Paulista (CIP) participated
in the project with the Tekiah, Shevarim, Teruah, a commentary for Rosh Hashanah.

The religious leader of the Sociedade Israelita Brasileira de Cultura e Beneficência (SIBRA),
Guershon Kwasniewski, in Porto Alegre, also wrote a commentary on the Devarim Parasha.

Educational Center of the WUPJ has a new director

Rabbi Steve Burnstein

Rabbi Steve Burnstein is the new director of the The Anita Saltz International Education Center. The institution awaits a new phase of development and growth. Burnstein has over 25
years of experience in Jewish education in the United States and Israel. He joins Saltz at a busy time when the Beutel Leadership Seminar prepares for its celebratory 10th anniversary seminar from January 12th to the 22nd. There will also be international seminars held in various places around the world such as
Europe and Latin America. Another priority will be to develop
the distance-learning programs.

"As part of the WUPJ, the Saltz Educational Center has the potential to impact progressive communities around the world
in a meaningful way. By offering tailor-made programs and resources, communities around the world could find a 'one stop shop' in Israel for cross-generational educational initiatives.
I'm excited at the opportunity to strengthen connections
between our communities and deepen our Jewish knowledge", stated Burnstein.

Beutel Seminar for Progressive Jewish Leadership / 2012

As is done every year, the WUPJ-Latin America will send participants from the region to the 2012 edition of the Beutel Seminar. Maria Antonieta Cohen (Tilah), from the Congregação Israelita Mineira – CIM, who will be the institution's next president, is already registered.

"In January 2012, I will attend the 11th. Beutel Seminar in Jerusalem, sponsored
annually by WUPJ. As a representative of CIM, I'm in search of a better understanding
of the proposals and lines of action from the WUPJ, the strengthening ties with other communities in Brazil, Latin America, Israel and elsewhere. I believe that the
consciousness of belonging to a movement with dense networks of contact is necessary
for survival of our communities. I am confident that the seminar will provide grounding
on how to clarify this relationship.

My motivation stems from the positive experiences I had in previous meetings in Punta
del Este (2006) and in Rio de Janeiro (2008), and also at Connections 2011 in San Francisco, California. These meetings were encouraged by the excellent work that the
WUPJ-LA has been doing to establish closer relations between different communities
in Brazil, Latin America and other many countries. I am honored to collaborate".

This is an important seminar that inspires lay leaders in Jewish communities throughout the
world and will be held in Jerusalem at the beginning of 2012 at the Anita Saltz International Education Center. The seminar offers the opportunity to study ancient texts and Jewish history,
as well as promote a discussion on the social and political problems of the Jewish world; the spirituality and community leadership within a Progressive Jewish context. The participants
must be selected by their respective communities.

# UJCL 2012

The steering committee of the 13th Convention of the Union of Jewish Congregations of Latin America and the Caribbean (UJCL) started to transmit information about the event on Twitter, using the hashtag #ujcl2012. The 13th convention will be held in the city of Guadalajara, Mexico from January 25th to the 29th, 2012. The theme of the convention will be "Judaism for Adults: Complex Questions, Honest Answers".

The event brings together the main Progressive, Liberal and Conservative institutions from the region as well as representatives from the United States. Besides the WUPJ, the Joint Distribution Committee, the Latin American Jewish Congress, the B'nai B'rith and the
Nasorti Olami have confirmed their presence.

"This bilingual event – Spanish and English –
will be by far the most important and exciting Jewish convention in the northern part of
Latin America", stated the Rabbi Joshua
Kullock, Executive Director of the UJCL.
More information here.

A large step for Reform Judaism in Israel

The Hebrew Union College (HUC) conceded the rabbinical ordination to three Israeli reform rabbis: the Rabbi Yeshaiyahu "Shai" Bluseski and the female Rabbis Ariella Graetz Bar Tuv and Guila Caine. This is a unique moment for Israeli society, who is not very accustomed to Reform Judaism. The three new religious leaders will now have a new challenge ahead of them: create opportunities for action since even the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism (IMPJ) is also looking to establish itself in the country.

The State of Israel presently recognizes only certain orthodox rabbis as legitimate. This means that, legally, only they can conduct events of the cycle of life that non-orthodox rabbis conduct regularly outside Israel, such as weddings and conversions. Various institutions work to change this reality by demanding that the government grant to the non orthodox congregations and to the liberal rabbis the
same economic resources that are given to
the orthodox congregations and rabbis.

Conib re-elects board for the period 2012-2014

Picture: Eliana Assumpção. 

L-R: Octavio Aronis, Mauricio Szporer, Henry Chmelnitsky, Fernando Lottenberg, Paulo Maltz,
Boris Ber, Claudio Lottenberg, Gilberto Meiches, Mauro Terepins and Daniel Borger.

During its 42nd annual convention, held this weekend in Curitiba, the Israeli Confederation
of Brazil re-elected its board of directors for the period 2012-2014, with the following directors:

President: Claudio Lottenberg;
1st Vice-President: Mauro Terepins;
2nd Vice-President: Henry Chmelnitsky;
General Secretary: Fernando Kasinski Lottenberg;
Secretary: Octavio Aronis;
General Treasurer: Gilberto Maktas Meiches;
Treasurer: Marcelo Blay;
Directors: Mario Adler e Daniel Borger.
Five new members will be part of the board: Boris Ber, Paulo Maltz, Mauricio Szporer,
    Julio Serson and Eduardo Wurzmann.

The guidelines of this management team which ends its mandate this year will continue,
prioritizing the political area, communications and the education of new leaders.

Holocaust Museum is inaugurated in Curitiba

Brazilian governmental authorities attended the inauguration of the first Holocaust Museum in Brazil located in the city of Curitiba, state of Paraná. The Minister of the Human Rights Secretariat of the Presidency of the Republic, Maria do Rosário Nunes, represented the President Dilma Roussef and stated that "this museum will avoid the worst of the conspiracies: the forgetfulness".

Idealized by the entrepreneur, Miguel Krigsner, the Holocaust Museum, pioneer in the country, transcends the vision of genocide because it also discusses the issue of prejudice and shows the respect for diversity that exists in Brazil. Claudio Lottenberg, president of the Conib, thanked the authorities present and noted, citing the philosopher Hannah Arendt, that "the prestige and recognition of the minorities avoids persecutions in the medium and long term". "This house will be a source of defense and education against intolerance. With it, Paraná reinforces the Brazilian democratic ideas", he complemented.

The museum is located next to the Beit Yaacov synagogue, inaugurated last September. Visits to the museum must be schedules, with groups of up to 30 people. Information: (41) 3908-2750.

Synagogue Beit Yaacov/ Curitiba, BR

Web Site

World Union for Progressive Judaism - Latin America:

http://www.wupj-latinamerica.org   contato@wupj-latinamerica.org