Issue # 69 – May 2013 / Sivan 5773

 Latin America was present at WUPJ International convention
A delegation composed of 35 people from Jewish communities from Latin America participated
in the WUPJ's 36th International Convention – Connections 2013 – "Being the Difference", held in Israel,
with Tikun Olam as its main theme.

Latin américa delegation

Opening ceremony
The meeting was attended by representatives from over 40 countries who celebrated the achievements of Progressive Judaism in various regions, seeing old friends, meeting new people, learning and sharing experiences.

Bialik-Rogozin Children's Choir
Besides lectures, workshops and debates, the conference also had a festive fraternal ambience, with artistic presentations that helped people connect and conveyed positive energy to all the participants.

One of the activities focused specifically on Latin America, with the opportunity to discuss the regional aspects and their particularities, points in common and challenges with the WUPJ International.

YouTube Video Link

During the conference, we also evidenced the renewed support given to the region by the Yad B'Yad Task Force, which is made up of WUPJ International volunteers who contribute in various ways to the development of progressive Judaism and its affiliated institutions in Latin America.

New projects

The convention also created prospects for the realization of new joint projects, especially with plans to integrate the local communities with the youth movements, with the objective of conducting joint training sessions for their leaders.

Young Adults / Tamar


Adrian Fada (Argentina)

Another proposal that saw significant advancement was the one of promoting new visits of scholars who can speak about Progressive Judaism, its values and traditions, and participate in informal meetings in the affiliated institutions and even in family homes.

In search of new activists, leaders and educators in Latin America, the Saltz Education Center announced the creation of special courses in Spanish.

Rabbi Joel Oseran with Lynn Magid-Lazar and Rabbi Marla Feldman, President and Executive Director of Women of Reform Judaism- WRJ
And the Women of Reform Judaism organization
– WRJ – has been meeting with female leaders of affiliated congregations in Latin America sharing their experience in the area of education with projects that adapt to the region.

A special Shabbat

Shabbat morning service, on Saturday, was one of the highlights of the Convention. Danny Freelander (USA), the chazan Zoe Jacobs (United Kingdom), and Maya Leibovitz-the first woman ordained as a Rabbi in Israel, along with other rabbis, chazanim and Rabbinate students, led a ceremony full of spirituality, with music, songs and readings from prayers in several languages, and the walls of Jerusalem's old city as the setting.
Shabbat morning service in Blaustein Hall overlooking the walls of the Old City - a spiritual pinnacle in every sense

The event organizers paid tribute to the Fundación Judaica, from Argentina, and to Rabi Sergio Bergman, who was awarded the WUPJ Micah Award for his commitment to Tikkun Olam and for his leadership in Latin America.

Rabbi Sergio Bergman receives the WUPJ Micah Award from (L-R) Rabbi Joel Oseran, Miriam Vasserman and Stephen Breslauer
Also honored with awards by the WUPJ International were the President of the American Jewish World Service, Ruth W. Messinger; Rabbi Bob Samuels who heads the Leo Baeck Educational Center of Haifa; Professor Dr. Irwin Cotler, member of the Canadian Parliament; and the Israeli author David Grossman.

Ruth W. Messinger receiving the IHA award from Rabbi David Gelfand

Michael Grabiner delivers Premio Micah to Rabbi Bob Samuels (R)

David Grossman (L) receiving the WUPJ Maggid Award from Yaron Shavit

Prof. Irwin Cotler receives the WUPJ International Humanitarian Award from Austin Beutel and Rabbi Leigh Lerner

(Photos/Fotos Sigal Segev)
 Connections 2015 – Now its Rio de Janeiro's turn!

In May 2015 (date to be defined) the WUPJ's international convention – Connections 2015 – will be held in Rio de Janeiro.

The Connections is held outside Israel every four years and this edition will be the first held in Latin America.

On the one hand, this choice reveals the degree of importance that the region has been reaching within the organization, which happens through more and more successful programs, both with regards to attendance as well as content and organization.

Since the first regional conference held in São Paulo in 2004, the level of comprehension and adherence to the progressive branch of Judaism increases gradually, with more and more families understanding that it is good and possible to combine a rich Jewish experience with a modern, inclusive egalitarian, democratic and Zionist way of life.
On the other hand, holding the conference in Rio de Janeiro, having ARI as the host congregation, is an unparallel opportunity for all of the Jews in the region – from the most committed to those who are only interested – to come in contact with advocates of Progressive and Zionist thinking and learn with them.

The exposure to the Jewish world that participating in a Connections convention provides has a long term effect and can be a point of inflexion in the lives of each participant.

Do not fail to take advantage of this opportunity!

Reserve the month of May 2015 in your agendas to come to Rio de Janeiro!

As soon as the date is defined, we will make the announcement, allowing everyone to make their travel plans in advance.

World Union for Progressive Judaism - Latin America