Issue # 60 - June 2012 / Iyar - Sivan 5772

 4th Conference of the Jewish Communities in Latin America 

Buenos Aires 2012

Check the program and participate!

The WUPJ is promoting the 4th Conference of the Jewish Communitties in Latin America in Buenos Aires, Argentina from August 8th to the 12th, 2012.

The program for the conference has already been defined and religious and lay leaders, activists, volunteers and professionals from various communities, as well as WUPJ representatives from the USA, Europe and Israel will be present.

Among the subjects that will de debated are the role of the rabbi in the Jewish tradition; combatting anti-semitism; the involvement of young people with religion; the development of Progressive Judaism in the State of Israel; conversions and Anusim (the return of assimilated Jews for various reasons, such as the new Christian, for example); and how to maintain tradition when faced with modernity.

The complete program and further information regarding registration are on the website

Registration is open!!!

Registration fee per person
(without lodging)

By July 31st

• USD 500 Adult
• USD 250 Youth
  (up to age 30)


1. Pre-Conference Tour (optional): August 6th to the 8th -
Buenos Aires & Jewish Colonies of Entre Ríos

2. Kallah rabínica : August 8th and 9th - Study meeting for rabbis and religious leaders

3. Conference: August 9th to the 12th Intensive program, with the presence of international speakers and progressive Jewish communities in the region

4. Post-Conference Tour (optional): August 12th to the 15th -
Foz do Iguaçu and Rio de Janeiro

For registration:     More information:

Roots of Judaism in Argentina

Pre-Conference Tour :

Entre Ríos Jewish colonies - An emotional trip through the roots of Judaism in Argentina

August 6 – 8, 2012

At the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, the province of Entre Ríos was the privileged scenario of a fascinating and moving story: the arrival of dozens of thousands of Jewish immigrants who left behind the persecution of the czarist regime in Europe to make way for hope in a land that promised freedom and work.

Under the sponsorship of the Jewish Colonization Association (JCA) – the philanthropic organization
created in 1892 in London by Baron Maurice de Hirsch – agricultural colonies were established in Argentina to house impoverished immigrants.

With hard work, they were able to adapt to life in the
fields and at the same time maintain their culture and beliefs, transmitting their values and traditions to their descendants and ended up becoming the famous
"Jewish gauchos".

The shared effort between the JCA and the settlers resulted in the foundation of various cities and villages, creating schools, hospitals, temples, libraries and cooperative agricultural associations, many of which
are still active.

Highlighted Aspects:

• Visits to synagogues, cemeteries, museums and
other historical places in the small Jewish communities in Entre Ríos: Villaguay, Villa Clara, Villa Domínguez, Basavilbaso.

Conducted by David Igdaloff, president of the AIP, Asociación Israelita de las Pampas; Abel Evelson, member of the Lamroth Hakol Community Center in Buenos Aires, activities coordinator with the Jewish Colonies of Entre Ríos; and Professor Paul Liptz – Education Director of the Anita Saltz International Education Center, of the World Union of Progressive Judaism.

• To learn more about the locations that will be visited, consult the following websites:
description of the Historical Circuit of the Jewish Colonies of the Entre Ríos Center
description of the Museum and Regional Archives of the Colonies, Villa Domínguez

Information and registration on the website

 The strength of Progressive Judaism in Israel

The first female rabbi – At the end of May, the Attorney General's Office of Israel recognized the Israeli Female Reform Rabi Miri Gold as the first female religious leader of a non-orthodox congregation in the country. The decision equates the female rabbi to the four thousand orthodox rabbis that receive a salary from the State and opens the door so that the reform and conservative congregations begin to receive the same guaranteed subsidies as their fellow orthodox congregations.

The decision puts an end to seven years of struggle by the IRAC - Israel Religious Action Center.

Other conquests – the director of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism, Gilad Kariv, wrote an article published on June 4th in the Haaretz newspaper with the title “A great step for Judaism”. In the article, he remembers the difficulties he experienced in order to be accepted as a rabbi at the beginning of his career and important conquests with the Israeli government. The original article is on the link.

Involvement in Israeli life - The Association of Reform Zionists of America (ARZA) held an event in Canada in April, emphasizing the strength of Reform Judaism and the important role it has been fulfilling in today's Israeli society.

See the video shown at the occasion: Link

 Inter-religious dialogue in the Vatican

Pope Benedict XVI welcomed a committee of leaders from the Jewish community in Latin America at the Vatican on May 10th. The group was led by the President of the Latin-American Jewish Congress, Jack Terpins.

During the meeting, the leader of the Catholic Church remembered the 50 year anniversary of the II Vatican Council that will be celebrated in October. The II Vatican Council began in 1962 and lasted until 1965, when the "Nostra Aetate" was signed. This was a document that promoted interreligious dialogue between the Catholic Church and non-Christian religions, especially Judaism.

Besides Terpins, the committee included over 30 leaders of the Jewish community, among them Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress (WJC); Claudio Lottenberg, president of the CONIB - Israeli Confederation of Brazil; Shai Agosin, president of the Jewish Community of Chile; and the rabbi Marcelo Polakoff, president of the Latin American Rabbinical Assembly.

 A family of Female Rabbis

Read the story of three sisters who became reform
rabbis. The youngest, Ilana Mills, was ordained on May 13th at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and joined her sisters, Mari Chernow and Jordana Chernow-Reader, who already work in congregations in the United States.

Renee Ghert-Zand, in the newspaper The Times of Israel, conducted an interview with the three sisters. See it at:


At the ordination of Ilana, from L-R: Jordana Chernow-Reader, Ilana Mills, and Mari Chernow. (Photo: Arlene Chernow)

World Union for Progressive Judaism - Latin America