Issue # 62 – September 2012 / Elul 5772 – Tishrei 5773

 A valuable exchange of experiences: WUPJ leaders visit communities in Latin America

WUPJ leaders visited various communities in the region, participating in meetings that provided a valuable exchange of experiences, in the time period that preceded the 4th Conference of the Jewish Communities in Latin America on August 8th to the 12th, in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

If on one hand the members of the communities – volunteers, professionals and activists – had the opportunity to listen and learn more about important topics related to Progressive Judaism, on the other, the leaders of the WUPJ were able to get to know closely the reality of these groups, their conquests and also the difficulties faced on a daily basis. In Brazil, the presence of WUPJ scholars had the support of the Conib (Israeli Confederation of Brazil).

In Porto Alegre (Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil), the President of the WUPJ, Rabbi Stephen Fuchs, participated in activities organized by Sergio Caraver, president and by Professor Guershon Kwasniewski, religious leader of SIBRA Congregation. Besides meetings with the Jewish community, Rabbi Fuchs' agenda also included meetings with an inter-religious dialogue group and with the mayor, José Fortunati. The President of the WUPJ also visited the construction site of one of the stadiums for the Soccer World Cup of 2014 and played a little soccer with a group of underprivileged children.

The Zero Hora newspaper, one of the most renowned in Brazil, published an interview with Rabbi Fuchs, emphasizing his "way of exercising faith following the evolution of customs".

In Chile, the city of Santiago received Rabbi Joel Oseran, the WUPJ's Vice President of International Development. Victor Grimblatt, president and Rabbi Chaim Koritzinsky from the Ruach Ami Congregation, which has been becoming an important alternative for those people interested in Progressive Judaism in the capital city of Chile, held activities with Rabbi Oseran, discussing topics such as "Challenges for Israel and the Jewish world in the 21st century"; "Why am I a Progressive Jew?"; and also the need for cooperation between the different Jewish movements existing in Chile.

The Vice President of the WUPJ also visited other Chilean institutions, like the Yakar community in Santiago leaded by Rabbi Roberto Feldmann and the Max Nordau Congregation in Valparaiso, which had been seriously damaged in an earthquake in 2010 and received resources from a WUPJ fund for its reconstruction.

Rabbi Joel Oseran (L) & Rabbi Chaim Koritzinsky / Ruach Ami

Members of the restored Valparaiso synagogue

The city of Belo Horizonte (Minas Gerais, Brazil) was the destination of Professor Paul Liptz, Director of Education at the WUPJ's Anita Saltz International Education Center in Jerusalem, before the conference in Argentina.

Welcomed by president Maria Antonieta Cohen, Rabbi Leonardo Alanati and other leaders of the CIM Congregation (Congregação Israelita Mineira), Liptz conducted lectures for the local community, university students and professionals and also at a meeting with representatives from Jewish institutions, such as the Israeli Federation of Minas Gerais, Israeli Brazilian Association, Theodor Herzl School, Na'amat Pioneers and Wizo. The agenda also included a visit to a small Jewish community in Ouro Preto, one of the most important historical cities in Brazil and declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

The communities in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro had the visit of Rabbi Michael Marmur who was in Brazil for the first time. Rabbi Marmur is Vice President for Academic Affairs at the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, responsible for the campuses in New York, Cincinnati, Los Angeles and Jerusalem.

At the CIP Congregation (Congregação Israelita Paulista), hosted by president Sergio Kulikovsky and Rabbi Ruben Sternschein, Rabbi Marmur spoke about "The various meanings of Masoret: the legitimacy of Liberal Judaism in Israel and throughout the world", where he spoke about the importance of traditions in contemporary society.

Still in the capital city of São Paulo, Rabbi Marmur participated in a meeting with a group of young couples who hold monthly shiurim with rabbis from the CIP Congregation. The WUPJ representative spoke about the topic "Why am I a Reform Jew?" emphasizing the dilemma about how to conciliate Judaism and modernity, which instigated the audience.

At the ARI Congregation (Associação Religiosa Israelita) in Rio de Janeiro, hosted by the president Evelyn Milsztajn, vice-president Teresa Roth and by the Rabbis Sergio Margulies and Dario Bialer, Rabbi Marmur spoke about space and time, making an analogy with the name of the city: Rio (space) de Janeiro (time). Also at ARI, Rabbi Marmur participated in a Torah study group after the Shabat religious service and in a Havdalah ceremony with a group of young people.

 Exciting images and an apology

The WUPJ Latin America apologizes for the technical slip-up which did not permit the visualization of the picture gallery of the 4th Conference of the Jewish Communities in Latin America as announced in the last issue of our newsletter. Now that the slip-up has been corrected, we invite you to check out the pictures of the exciting and historical moments of the conference held in Argentina. BUE2012 Gallery

 A wonderful experience through the roots of Judaism in Argentina

A group of 35 people participated in an excursion to small Jewish communities in the province of Entre Ríos, approximately 5 hours by car from Buenos Aires, Argentina. The trip, organized by David Igdaloff from the AIP (Asociación Israelita de las Pampas) and by the Abel Evelson from Lamroth Hakol Community Center, was part of the pre-conference program of the 4th Conference of the Jewish Communities in Latin America, organized by the WUPJ Latin America in August in Buenos Aires.

At the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, the province of Entre Ríos was the privileged scenario of a fascinating and touching story: the arrival of tens of thousands of Jewish immigrants who left behind the persecution of the Czarist regime in Europe to give place to hope in a land that promised freedom and work.

With the support of the Jewish Colonization Association (JCA) – a philanthropic organization created in London in 1892 by Baron Maurice de Hirsch – began the establishment of agricultural colonies to provide shelter for impoverished immigrants, who became known as the "Jewish gauchos".

The effort shared between the JCA and the settlers resulted in the foundation of various towns and villages and was the origin of schools, hospitals, temples, libraries and agricultural cooperative associations, many of which are still active today and were visited by the WUPJ group.

"It was a wonderful experience for all of us to have the opportunity to visit the colonies that received help from Baron Hirsch. We saw history from text books become a reality", said Jerry Tanenbaum, President of the Yad B' Yad Task Force, arm of the WUPJ that helps the communities in Latin America. To learn more about this fascinating part of the history of the Jews in Argentina click on

Pictures: Pre Conference_BA2012

Dominguez Synagogue

L' Moises, Basavilbaso Synagogue

 CIP Congregation has a new Reform Rabbi

Rabino Uri Lam

Uri Lam, who had been acting as assistant rabbi at the CIP Congregation since August of 2005 was approved by the Vaadat Hasmachá (rabbinical ordination committee) of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, in Israel.

The festive ceremony will be held on November 14 but Uri Lam already started working as a new reform rabbi at the CIP Congregation.

The WUPJ congratulates the new rabbi and recognizes his efforts and dedication throughout all these years, and certainly the ones that will follow, in developing projects that enrich the Jewish life of the community in São Paulo.

"The moment I was approved by my professors, who are now my colleagues, was remarkable and emotional but not enough to describe what I am feeling. It is also a moment of gratitude to all those who accompanied, stimulated, challenged, trusted and worked together with me on this project that belongs to all of us", stated Uri Lam.

 Registration for the Beutel Seminar for Progressive Jewish Leadership 2013 is now open

The next edition of the Beutel Seminar for Progressive Jewish Leadership will be held in February 2013 in Jerusalem and registration is now open. This is an opportunity to study ancient texts and Jewish history and also to discuss social and political issues of the Jewish world; the spiritual pathways and concepts of leadership all within a Progressive Jewish context.

In the past ten years, close to 200 people from all parts of the world participated in the seminar conducted in the Anita Saltz International Education Center of the WUPJ.

The participants must be recommended by their respective communities and more information can be obtained through the email or

 Being the difference – 36th WUPJ International Convention - Connections 2013

The WUPJ will hold its international convention on April 28th to May 5th, 2013 in Jerusalem, Israel.

With the theme "Being the difference", the convention invites all to learn, explore, question, get involved and be inspired to transform the world.

The pillars of the meeting will be:

Tikkun Hanefesh – Repairing the soul
Tikkun Atzmi – Repairing the self
Tikkun Hahevra – Repairing society
Tikkun Israel – Repairing Israel
Tikkun Olam – Repairing the world

More information on the 36th International Convention of the WUPJ – Connections 2013 – is available on the website www.wupjconnections.orgo or by email at

 Shana Tova

The WUPJ Latin America, all of its professionals and volunteers believe that the world can become better every day. That is why every year we renew our wish of happiness to all those who accompany us in this cycle that ends. And may 5773 be even better, with great accomplishments, happiness and health.

Shana Tova Umetuka!

World Union for Progressive Judaism - Latin America