Issue # 74 – November 2013 / Kislev 5774

 WUPJ Latin America elects new management

To guarantee the continuity and development of the work conducted at the WUPJ Latin America, the new management will have as President Raul Cesar Gottlieb. Miriam Vasserman, who had been the President for two consecutive terms, will now be Vice President and will continue to represent the organization on the WUPJ worldwide board. The new members of the board were also chosen for the period 2013/2015 with single slate composed of the following names:

Álvaro Orantes – Asociación Judía Reformista de Guatemala – Adat Israel
Carlos Malamut – Congregação Israelita Mineira (CIM)
Dora Lucia Brenner – Congregação Israelita Paulista (CIP)
Enrique Jurkowski – CIRA Templo Libertad (Buenos Aires)
Flávio Levi Moreira – Congregação Israelita Paulista (CIP)
Hermano Wrobel – Associação Cultural Israelita de Brasília (ACIB)
José Frenkiel – Sociedade Israelita do Ceará (SIC)
Juan J. Bravo – Comunidad Judía de Huánuco " Beith Etz Chaim" (Peru)
Miriam Vasserman
Mario Ruschin – Congregación NCI-Emanu-EL (Buenos Aires)
Raul Cesar Gottlieb – Associação Religiosa Israelita do RJ (ARI )
Ricardo Rotholtz – Centro de Espiritualidad Mishkán (Argentina)
Sebastián Vainstein – Asociación Israelita de las Pampas - AIP (Argentina)
Sergio Brukman – Fundación Judaica (Argentina)
Sérgio Caraver – Sociedade Israelita Brasileira do RS (SIBRA)
Susana Pitchon – Escuela Comunitária Arlene Fern (Buenos Aires)
Teresa Roth – Associação Religiosa Israelita do RJ (ARI)
Victor Grimblatt Hinzpeter – Comunidad Cultural Y Religiosa Ruaj Ami (Chile)

 Argentina has the first Rabbi in a national parliament outside of Israel
Rabbi Sergio Bergman, of the Fundación Judaica in Buenos Aires, was elected to the Chamber of Deputies, with 34.15% of the votes in the capital city Buenos Aires. Bergman stood out as the first name on the list of the center-right political party PRO, which opposes the government of President Cristina Kirchner.

In the Jewish community, the Rabbi and – now – congressman, has as one of his priorities the creation of schools and educational projects recognized internationally in the biennial WUPJ International conference this year in Israel, especially because they promote the inclusion of children with disabilities in regular classrooms.

For WUPJ Latin America representative Miriam Vasserman, "this election does not only recognize of Rabbi Bergman and his trajectory, but also marks a turning point in democracy in Argentina. His work is inspired and created through his vision of a pluralist and inclusive community, involved in Argentinean society, of which it is an indivisible part. We know that from his seat in Congress, he will continue to work for a fairer society".

Rabbi Sergio Bergman.
 Tradition! Synagogue turns 150 years old in Buenos Aires

CIRA/Templo Libertad
The emblematic Templo Libertad, of the Congregación Israelita de la República Argentina (CIRA), celebrated its 150th anniversary at the beginning of November with a concert of the Tango Orchestra in Buenos Aires.

"While celebrating the date, we noted the importance of the congregation, its contribution to the identity of the community and to the history of a nation. As a pioneer institution, its founders planned it as a center for Jewish life in Argentina, transforming the emblematic building into an icon both for Jewish identity and the Argentinean society. From then on, successive generations were able to integrate the singularity of our tradition and the construction of a unit within the diversity, which makes our country an example of coexistence among the differences and which brings richness to the cultural and spiritual capital of a plural society", stated Rabbi Sergio Bergman.

 Judaism on the radio waves
In the month of October, the Fundación Judaica began a cycle of radio programs through the Internet called "Judaica en Red" (Judaica on the net). It is a daily radio program, mixing information on projects and programs of the Fundación Judaica with sections on entertainment and Jewish culture. According to the President of the Fundación Judaica, Sergio Brukman, "the idea is to build a community, also within the media. We want to reach people through the radio and the social networks because we know that we have a model of a pluralist and inclusive community and many times people do not hear about it".

To listen to the program, just access the website, from Monday to Friday from 4:00 to 5:00 P.M., Buenos Aires time.

Twitter: @judaicaenred

Jewish radio network
Tension among religious groups attracts attention in Israel
At the end of October, Rabbi Uri Regev visited the ARI-RJ for a lecture that opened the "Challenges of Judaism" Seminar in Itaipava.

Rabbi Regev, who was president of the WUPJ International in the past and presently manages the Hidush NGO, defends equality of status for the various religious lines in Israel.

(L-R) Arieh Zagarodny (Vice President / ARI), Rabbi Uri Regev,
Ricardo Gorodovits (President / ARI).

The event began with the video "Women Fight Religious Segregation in Israel", followed by explanations by the Rabbi about Liberal Judaism, its changes, choices and progress. The Rabbi gave a lecture on the topic: "The nature of Liberal Judaism: its changes, choices and progress", analyzing the changes in Israeli society for the position of the progressive and liberal movements. During his trip to Rio de Janeiro Regev was interviewed by the "O Globo" newspaper, where he put emphasis on a survey that revealed the tension between the secular and religious as the gravest problem for the Israeli population, even over the conflict with the Palestinians, for example. Read the complete interview on the link.

At the end of his lecture, Regev answered questions from the audience on topics such as the raising of children by homosexual couples.


 The strength of the youth…

With the topic "Latin American Judaism: its traits and characteristics and the relationship with Israel", a group of 35 young adults with ages between 20 and 35, representing Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Panama, Ecuador and Guatemala participated in a conference at the beginning of November at the legendary Avigdor Colony ( in the Province of Entre Rios in Argentina.

Called Mifgash-Beit Midrash Judaica, the event was organized jointly by the Fundación Judaica (Argentina) and the TaMaR – the WUPJ's young adult movement. The event was made possible thanks to the Fundación Judaica (FJ), the TaMaR, WRJ (Women of Reform Judaism), WZO (World Zionist Organization) and the WUPJ-LA.

Rabbi Karina Finkielsztein and Adrian Mirchuk (FJ) and Anabella Esperanza (TaMaR) coordinated the activities. Also participating in the coordination of activities were: Adrian Fada, Daniela Jaichenko, Diego Elman and Alan Kuchler (FJ), Roy Melamed (sheliach of the WZO Argentina) and Rabbi Sebastian Vainstein (AIP- Asociación Israelita de las Pampas). Miriam Vasserman participated through Skype.

This was the first meeting of a medium and long-term project in which young adults find space to conduct their Judaism and Zionism. The next event is being prepared for August 2014 in Brazil.

Ana Karlik (coordinator of the Fritz Pinkuss Study Camp owned by the CIP) speaks about the meeting in Avigdor: "During one of the workshops of the Mifgash, a young woman asked the group the following question: How does my Judaism connect with that of other communities? What makes my community have a relationship with another community? For me, this question was very illustrative in describing this meeting. Being able to be with other communities, each one with their own peculiarities, exchanging experiences, challenges, living Judaism together, the rituals, all of this strengthened us as individuals and as a community, so that we may go on with our lives! The exchange and experiences enrich us and now that each one is back in their own community, we can see that we can share and move forward with many others when faced with our challenges!

"Thanks to all who, in such a short period of time, came form a long ways away or put their jobs aside to study and continue fighting for the continuity of our Judaism", stated Rabbi Sebastian Vainstein from the AIP.

 ... And the strength of women
  The organization Women of the Wall (WOW) celebrated its 25-year anniversary at the beginning of November, coinciding with the Rosh Chodesh of Kislev, with a special ceremony at the Wailing Wall, in a potent demonstration of how Israeli society has changed. Hundreds of religious women got together, even with a large police escort, for a peaceful event.
The news story made headlines in all of the Israeli press, with declarations from the President of the WOW, Anat Hoffman, who was at the Conference of the Jewish Communities in Latin America, held in 2008 in Rio de Janeiro. She defended the right of women to pray in an equal manner and occupy a space at the Wailing Wall. See the complete interview given to The Jerusalem Post on this Link

Picture gallery: Rosh Hodesh Kislev WOW's 25th Anniversary

 Challenging the role of leaders
Rabbi Joseph Edelheit, director of the Religious Studies Program at St. Cloud State University (USA), spent the High Holy Days with the community in Recife, in the state of Pernambuco, and then visited the capital city of the state of Santa Catarina, Florianopolis, Brazil. Known for his fight for Human Rights and work conducted with HIV-positive individuals, especially in India, Edelheit led the religious services of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur in Recife, and also participated in activities with the local community. His passage through the capital city of Pernambuco made headlines in the local media.

Link1 Link2 Link3 Link4

At the Associação Israelita Catarinense (AIC), in Florianopolis, the rabbi gave a lecture on the topic "Reading of Sacred Texts in a Scientific World" and also spoke about the role of leaders nowadays, raising questions such as: "how does a leader arise? "what is his/her profile?"; and "how does he/she practice his/her leadership?"

Edelheit also spoke about how the Torah is full of examples of leaders and the messages they bring to the modern day.

(L-R) Chazzan David Leo Eisencraft and Rabbi Joseph Edelheit
 9th World Assembly of Religions for Peace
  The Confederação Israelita do Brasil (Conib) invited Rabbi Michel Schlesinger, from the CIP, to be its representative at the 9th World Assembly of Religions for Peace, which will be held during the second half of the month of November in Vienna, Austria.

The event, which will be attended by close to 600 people, is organized by the coalition Religions for Peace, founded in 1970, to promote inter-religious dialogue throughout the world, with the support of the United Nations.

Schlesinger will also participate in the Global Forum "The Image of the Other: Inter-religious and Intercultural Education" in Vienna.

 Tributes to Rabbi Henry Sobel and farewells

Rabbi Henry I. Sobel

Through a joint initiative of the family of journalist Vladimir Herzog (Vlado), killed by the dictatorial military regime in Brazil in 1975, the Congregação Israelita Paulista (CIP) and the Comissão Nacional de Diálogo Religioso Católico-Judaico (DCJ) (National Commission for Catholic-Jewish Religious Dialogue), a tribute was held for Rabbi Emeritus Henry Sobel who will return to the United States after almost 40 years living in Brazil.

The ceremony was held at the Simon Bolivar Auditorium in the Latin America Memorial, in São Paulo, and brought together hundreds of friends, religious leaders and politicians.

The date chosen for the tribute, October 31st, coincided with the exact 38 years of the inter-religious act in memory of Vlado held at the Sé Cathedral by Sobel and the Cardinal Archbishop of São Paulo at that time, D. Paulo Evaristo Arns, and the Reverend James Wright, at a time when the Brazilian society lived "the lead years" of the military dictatorship.

  At the Kabalat Shabbat on November 1st, the Rabbi was also honored during the religious service at the CIP.
 A special Bar Mitzvah
Professor Mariano del Prado, of the Associación Israelita de Coronel Suárez, which is part of the Associación Israelita de las Pampas (AIP), in Argentina, does not hide his pride regarding the results of the course "Judaism with experience and meaning", which culminated with the Bar Mitzvah ceremony of Chaim Yosef Kliner, who belongs to a group of adults who are preparing for the religious coming of age ceremony. "We shared a beautiful moment with the community, family and friends", stated the professor, anxious for other parties still to come, with another ten bnei and bnot mitzvah who will be called to read the Torah for the first time during the month of November.
(L-R) Chaim Yosef Kleiner with Prof. Mariano del Prado
 Save the dates

World Union for Progressive Judaism - Latin America