Issue # 63 – October 2012 / Tishrei-Cheshvan 5773

 WUPJ Latin America gains strength with new affiliates



The renewal period of the Yamim Noraim was even more significant for the WUPJ Latin America with the inclusion, by unanimous decision, of three new congregations into their list of members.

The new members of the WUPJ Latin America are the Comunidad Judia of Huánuco in Peru, under the guidance of Rabbi Peter Tarlow; the Congregación Judia Bet Jadash, in Guayaquil, Ecuador, guided by Rabbi Terry Bookman; and the Asociación Judia Reformista de Guatemala- Adat Israel, in Guatemala where Rabbi Elyse Goldstein works.

Thus the WUPJ Latin America also renews its mission of building bridges between the Reform / Progressive congregations in the region, supporting and organizing programs with inclusive Jewish content.

A good example was actually observed at the Adat Israel congregation in Guatemala where the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur religious services were held for the first time, with the presence Rabbi Deborah Lynn and her husband Fred Lipschultz as volunteers.

 The High Holy Days of the 21st century – the Modern World and Judaism complete each other

Various congregations affiliated to the WUPJ in Latin America experienced important moments during the period of Yamim Noraim, between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, especially with the use of new technologies and the presentation of Jewish customs to people who were not familiar with the celebrations, without mentioning the strengthening of small communities that do not always have the opportunity to celebrate the most important dates of the religious calendar.

In Porto Alegre (RS), the SIBRA once more had a live transmission via the internet of the religious services, connecting people who, for various reasons, were not able to go to a synagogue, in all regions of Brazil and even in other countries like Argentina, Uruguay, Germany, Canada, United States and Israel.

An example is Mrs. Adela Kaczka, age 95,
in Buenos Aires who followed all of the details
of the ceremonies in front of her computer.

The SIBRA conducts the transmissions also during the Kabalat Shabbat, every Friday at 7:00 pm (Brasilia standard time), on the website

The reading of the prayers in a new Sefer Torah marked the first night of Rosh Hashanah at the Sociedade Israelita do Ceará (SIC), in Fortaleza, (CE), thanks to a donation by David and Nilma Igdaloff, delivered by the WUPJ Latin America to the representatives of the institution at the 4th Conference of the Jewish Communities in Latin America, in Buenos Aires.


In São Paulo (SP), after the High Holydays in CIP- Congregação Israelita Paulista, which brought together approximately 3500 people, almost eighty people were present at the special dinner in the Sukkot promoted by the Congregation and that was accompanied by a lecture "Welcome and learn through the mysterious world of Kabbalah", conducted by Rabbi Ruben Sternschein. Also presents the rabbis Uri Lam and Michel Schlesinger, besides the chazanim Avi Bursztein and Alê Edelstein, and maestro Felipe Grytz, Pipo.


In Belo Horizonte, (MG), the celebration of the High Holy Days at the Congregação Israelita Mineira (CIM) was reported in the "Estado de Minas" newspaper, one of the main means of communication in the region. In the article signed by the reporter Letícia Orlandi, the paper emphasized the presence of close to ten thousand people in the celebration and the sermon of the Rabbi of the CIM, Leonardo Alanati, about the fact that "the Jewish New Year sends a double message. On the one hand, happiness, peace and health. On the other, it represents a reevaluation of each person and an opportunity to ask for forgiveness and begin a new cycle".


In Rio de Janeiro (RJ), besides the traditional religious services of the Associação Religiosa Israelita
(ARI-RJ), representatives of the institution participated in special activities held at the União - Lar da Amizade, Associação Beneficente Israelita, which offers housing for the elderly. After Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, everyone also had a lot of fun with the Succoth party, especially on the day where there was a ballet presentation
by the Ballet de Santa Teresa.


Iamim Noraim was full of emotion in Florianópolis (SC). On Rosh Hashanah, the Israeli Association of Santa Catarina was attended by families who came from all parts of the State. Choir conducted by Ricardo Levi, music by Alberto Heller and Tatyana Chamis, first violist of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, USA, typical food, everybody very awake to the sound of the Shofar. Children played and had fun with the youth of Hashomer Hatzair, always friends met again and all together they plan the next year. On Yom Kippur, the community once again gathered for moments of reflection and breaking of the fast. And to end the cycle, Sukkot was celebrated with the traditional falafel promoted by Hashomer Hatzair with support of Wizo. Now, is preparing to move to new headquarters. See you there!


In Argentina, the High Holy Days and the Yamim Noraim period were also very positive for the affiliated
and partners institutions.

At the Centre de Espiritualidad Judía Mishkan, the ceremonies were joined with the fervor of the great audience, the solemnity and the emotion of the service and the wonderful choir of chazanim. And we must mention the time that many children and adolescents in the community played the shofar. The excitement was also great, when during the IZCOR, on the back of each the mahzor was inscribed the name of the children killed during the Holocaust, and that everybody should read this name Z ´ L and remember him. The service of Sukkot and Shabbat hol Hamoed Sukkot was conducted in beautiful Sukkah, made and decorated by community members, and where prevailed, as every year, the atmosphere with much joy and rejoicing, as also happened in the service of Simchat Torah.


From the Asociación Israelita de las Pampas (AIP), the Comunidad Israelita de Misiones, in Posadas, enjoyed the presence of the seminary student Natán Waingortin and the chazzan Rubén Halperin. The local leaders, actually, were very understanding with Natán, who had to be away for the first few days because his grandmother passed away.

For the first time the High Holy Days were celebrated at the Asociación Israelita de Villaguay, where those present were also very touched when they found out that the seminary student Mario Szames said goodbye to the AIP and passed the baton to the young Chilean Benjamin Alaluf, who is going to work there permanently.

The Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur celebrations also brought together numerous people at the Asociación Israelita de Coronel Suárez, the Asociación Fraternal Israelita Teodoro Herzl (Roque S. Peña- Chaco), at the Sociedad Unión Israelita de Socorros Mutuos de Avellaneda and at the Asociación Israelita de Paraná.

Also in Argentina, Congregation NCI Emanu El, from Fundación Judaica celebrated excitedly Simchat Torah.




 Registration Now Open for 2013 Beutel Leadership Seminar

Over the past ten years some 200 people from across the globe have participated in the Beutel Seminar for Progressive Jewish Leadership. Looking at Reform Jewish communities throughout the World Union for Progressive Judaism we see Beutel alumni giving back in meaningful ways.

Next year's Beutel Seminar will be held February 7–17, 2013 in Israel. The application form and sample schedule are on the Saltz Center website

Beutel team (L-R): Professor Paul Liptz, Rabbi Levi Weiman-Kelman, Rabbi Steve Burnstein

The program includes prayer workshops, text study, site visits, and lectures. These are supplemented by mifgash encounters with scholars, activists, and leaders from a variety of organizations including the extended family of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism as well as others who share our values.

 Connections 2013

WUPJ 36TH International Convention Connections 2013 –
"Being the Difference" / 28th April – 5th May 2013

"Let Justice Flow Like Waters – Righteousness Like a Mighty Stream" (Amos 5:24)

Lamed Vav tsadikim – According to Jewish tradition, the world rests on 36 righteous individuals but none of them are aware that they are among the 36.

The 36th International Convention of the World Union for Progressive Jews offers the opportunity to be part of that difference that can change the world.

Connections 2013 - "Being the Difference" invites you to learn, explore, question, get involved and be inspired together with our WUPJ family from across the globe.

We will focus on how to be a righteous Progressive Jew in the 21st Century and we will do this by

• Tikkun Hanefesh – Repairing the soul
• Tikkun Atzmi – Repairing myself
• Tikkun Hahevra – Repairing Society
• Tikkun Israel – Repairing Israel
• Tikkun Olam – Repairing the World

For more information please contact: or visit the website:


 New course for youth leaders in São Paulo


The Shidrug Project is the newest improvement course for young educator leaders of the Jewish community, held at the CIP - Congregation Israelita Paulista headquarters in partnership with the, Arymax Foundation and the WUPJ Latin America.

The inaugural class, after welcome from representatives of the project organizers, the youngsters could talk to Marcelo Maghidman, Master in Philosophy and special education consultant; Damian Dzienciarsky, Hebrew language and Tanach specialist and current curriculum coordinator of the Jewish department of the Peretz School.

Dr. Eli Gottlieb, director of the Mandel Leadership Institute and Vice President of the Mandel Foundation in Israel; Rabbi Michael Marmur, Vice President for Academic Affairs at the Hebrew Union College; and Zvi Bekerman director of the Melton Center for Jewish Education at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he teaches anthropology of education at the School of Education. Dr. Bekerman, Rabbi Marmur and Dr. Gotlieb participated in the meeting through Skype.

"We were very fortunate to receive excellent candidates and we kicked off the project with a very high quality lesson. We are very happy and encouraged with this new journey", commented Rabbi Reuben Sternschein.

 Reflections on the teaching of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel (by Jordán Haber HUC-JIR/Jerusalem student)

During the 4th Conference of the Jewish communities of Latin America, held by the WUPJ in August in Argentina, Michael marble, Vice President for academic affairs at Hebrew Union College, addressed the theme "the wisdom of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and its message for our times".


Heschel (1907-1972) published several books, notably "God in search of man", translated into several languages, including Portuguese and Spanish. Born in Warsaw, he lived in Germany, but, during the Nazi regime, he went to New York, where he became one of the most important religious leaders, fighting for civil rights alongside Martin Luther King and demanding religious freedom of the Jews in the former Soviet Union.

To Marmur, Heschel' s life was encompassed by Jewish tradition, but it also was plenty of questions which led him to search for a relevant meaning in Jewish literature and practices. In a world characterized by breaks and paradigm ruptures, Heschel saw himself unable to accept Jewish tradition as univocal and monolithic – he saw in it the encounter of diverse positions, concepts and points of view. His particular view of the world, his theology and way to approach Jewish tradition were made up of polarities: time and space fighting for the power, the mundane competing with the divine, Rabbi Akiva's view against Rabbi Ishmael's.

Heschel does not hesitate to interpret Jewish culture through the crystal of his own glasses, thus making all its element vibrant and relevant: his god is no longer immobile and insensitive; on the contrary he cries and rips his clothing with the people in times of sorrow; the prophet is no longer the one who hears the divine voice, but rather the one who conciliates between God and man, the one who spreads the light of the divine over the mundane or the light of morality where everything seems to be perverted.

Finally, Marmur pointed out that Heschel's Judaism is one of the only models of Judaism that may be relevant for progressive Jews: it is a Judaism that takes into account the tension between particularity and universalism, it is socially committed, and above all it requires from us to interpret it according to the needs of our time.

 New Sefer Torah for the SIBRA, Porto Alegre


David and Nilma Igdaloff, coming especially from Florida, United States was present to participate in the Placed service Shabbat of October 05. At the time officially handed a new Sefer Torah donated by them to the SIBRA.

 B'nei Israel Congregation in Costa Rica celebrates its 25th anniversary

B'nei Israel Congregation, in Costa Rica, will hold a special party to celebrate their 25th Anniversary, with various activities during the weekend of November 23rd and 24th, 2012.

"The history of our battles and of all of the sacrifices and aspirations that were invested in this Beit Hakneset, this synagogue, is a legacy that we leave for the generations to come. It is the history of a few pioneers who arrived at a new country and who wanted to live a Jewish life in a liberal environment. We had a dream and we made it a reality. The result is a truly dynamic, progressive and pluralist community", points Marvin Sossin, for life president and David Feingold, president.

During the anniversary weekend, we will have a special Kabbalat Shabbat service on Friday night and a Shacharit L 'Shabbat on Saturday morning. We will close the celebration with a gala dinner on Saturday night at the beautiful Villa Hermosa in the La Garita. It will be a happy night, filled with song and dance and a delicious dinner. We will look back, remembering the first quarter of a century of the B'nei Israel, and we will look forward, to the future, with enthusiasm.

A number of rooms were reserved at the Hotel Barceló Palma Real at special single and double occupancy rates. The price includes transportation from and to the airport as well as breakfast. For reservations, please contact the hotel directly: telephone (506) 2290-5060 and email: and mention our code Congregación B, nei Israel for the special rates. Additionally, we inform you that the cost of the gala dinner is $ 65.00 per person.

If you can join us, please send an email to with your name, address and telephone number and Ericka Ramirez, our secretary, will contact you. .

World Union for Progressive Judaism - Latin America