Issue # 77 – March 2014 / Adar II, 5774

 Purim Message

The Purim holiday, which will be celebrated on March 16th – 14 of Adar II may be the date on the annual calendar of the chaguim that has the greatest resemblance to progressive Judaism.

After all, the story told in the Meguilat Esther shows how the Jews who lived in ancient Persia adapted to the situation at the time and how they integrated to the life of the local society, without abandoning the values and traditions of Judaism.

This is exactly one of the main characteristics – and why not say a positive differential – of progressive Judaism: we can maintain alive the flame of Judaism, even living in today's contemporary world. Why don't we integrate into the social, political, cultural life … of the country, the city, and the neighborhood in which we live?

And more than that: if there is a threat to the Jewish communities, just like in the story of Purim, we will unite to fight against those who wish us ill.

In this issue of the WUPJ Latin America we have two good examples. One of them is about integration into the greater society, that is, the inter-religious dialogue. The story tells us about a committee of Jews, Christians and Muslims from Argentina who went to the Middle East and the Vatican.

Another one is about the initiative of the WUPJ International in providing support to the Jewish community in the Ukraine, a country going through a grave political crisis, on the brink of a possible war, with anti-Semitic manifestations and attacks on synagogues.

And this is Progressive Judaism, joining the traditions of the Purim holiday to the present day.

Chag Sameach!

 Inter-religious Dialogue gains strength in Argentina

Rabbi Sergio Bergman, from the Fundación Judaica and representing the House of Representatives of Argentina, was part of a delegation of over 40 Argentineans, including Jews, Catholics and Muslims, which visited Israel, the Palestinian National Authority, Jordan and the Vatican.

The group was welcomed by the presidents of the PNA, Mahmoud Abbas, and of Israel, Shimon Peres; by King Abdullah in Amman, and by Pope Francis.

The main objective of the mission was to bring a message of optimism and to show that it is possible to have good relations between religions, as it happens in Argentinean society.

"It is a trip built on the culture of union, that promotes peace for the Middle East and commits us to promoting it here in Argentina as well, given the uncertainty of our country", stated Bergman.

In the meeting held at the Vatican, they also discussed topics related to the next visit of Pope Francis to Argentina, scheduled for 2016, for the celebration of his native country's 200-year independence anniversary.

 A unique experience for young adults

The TaMaR Olami youth movement, branch of the WUPJ that organizes activities for young adults, will hold its world conference on June 2nd to the 7th in Jerusalem, Israel. The participants will be able to see Israel in a different manner, participating in seminars and workshops and transmitting this new knowledge to their native communities.

Anabella Esperanza, TaMaR coordinator for Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries is participating in the preparation of the program to ensure a rich experience for the young people from Latin America.

People from over 20 countries will participate in the conference, including Australia, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Panama, USA, Great Britain, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Russia, Byelorussia, Ukraine and Israel.

More information is available of the Facebook page or by email at

 International Women's Day

To celebrate the International Women's Day, March 8th, Anat Hoffmann, leader of the Women of the Wall/WOW movement received the WIZO Jerusalem award in Israel for her tireless 25-year fight for equal rights.

 WUPJ conducts a campaign to help the community in the Ukraine

The WUPJ International began an emergency support campaign for the affiliated communities in the Ukraine, a country that is experiencing a serious political crisis. The objective is to raise financial resources to be able to provide security equipment and supplies for the communities.

For more information on how to contribute go to the link, only for North America. In Latin America, please send an email to

The WUPJ also published a note on the topic, signed by Mike Grabiner, Chairman; Anne Molloy, Chair of the WUPJ FSU Committee; and Alex Kagan, Director of the WUPJ FSU Program.

In the text, they mentioned the regretful episode at the synagogue of the Kerch community, affiliated to the WUPJ, in the city of Simferopol, in the Crimean peninsula, which was vandalized with anti-Semitic slogans and suffered some damage to parts of the building.



 Connections 2015

 Questions and answers about Progressive Judaism

Does Progressive Judaism constitute a "break" from historical Judaism?

On the contrary, our religious movement is a product of 35 centuries of historical evolution and development. The Bible, the Mishnah, the Talmud, the Midrash and all of the other great literary expressions of the Jewish spirit constitute unending sources of knowledge, to which we constantly turn in search of guidance and inspiration. We believe that Judaism was "progressive" since its origins.

In view of the persecution and the treatment of "pariahs" conferred to Jews (both in Europe and in some Islamic countries) survival became a question of holding on firmly to what was left. The confinement in ghettoes, both spiritual and physical, generated a deep and justifiable distrust with regards to the outside world. As a result, the dynamism and development that had been the main characteristics of Judaism were severely mutilated.

Progressive Judaism constitutes a religious expression of modern Jews who wish their Judaism to be relevant. We believe that there are positive values in modern culture that Judaism should absorb.

World Union for Progressive Judaism - Latin America