Issue # 78 – April 2014 / Nissan, 5774.

 Pesach Message

One feeling, various formats

The Jews have always celebrated Pesach. But they did not always do it through the Seder. And even when they began to celebrate freedom through the Seder, its format was not always the same. The first descriptions of the Seder are found in the Mishnah and the Tosefta (approximately in the second century of the common era) and they are not identical, just like the reports about the celebration of Pesach given by Philo of Alexandria and by Flavius Josephus.

The search for the best expression of our feelings within the frame that is prescribed in the Jewish calendar is incessant. This Pesach the families of Am Israel will be reaffirming the precious good that is their freedom in a format that they judge to be the some significant for them. And, independently of the multiple formats, in each one of these celebrations we will be reaffirming the bonds between all the Jews throughout the world as well as their bonds with a human race free from tyranny and oppressive relations.

Our religion established fundamental concepts for freedom, that were universalized to such an extent that are no longer exclusively Jewish concepts. The main one is the imperative of freewill , that arises in frontal opposition to the fatalistic view of the world, where man is a mere pawn in the hands of superior forces. Judaism believes in the power of human reformer. May we be proud of our libertarian tradition and make the most of your real inheritance, which goes far beyond ritual uniformity.

A happy and meaningful Pesach to all!

Raul C. Gottlieb

 Happiness and creativity in Purim

There were moments of happiness and participant creativity at the Purim celebration in the WUPJ Latin America affiliates, with costumes of familiar characters from children's stories and also from the history of the Jews who lived in Ancient Persia.

At the Congregação Israelita Paulista and the Associação Religiosa Israelita (ARI-RJ) hundreds of people of all ages participated in the reading of the Meguilla Esther, as well as in workshops, games, storytelling and circus activities.

See the celebrations in the videos.







The ACIB in Brasilia celebrated Purim in great style last Saturday night! 100 people, between adults and children, came to our headquarters to listen to the reading of the Megilla Esther and afterwards had a lively celebration with many costumes!



The Congregação Israelita Mining along with entities AIB, Wizo and Dror promoted a joyful feast of Purim. Reading of Megillat Esther, too much noise, children, youth and adults in costume and a delicious Kiddush, with traditional and tasty Osnei Haman.



The community of Pernambuco met in the Centro Israelita de Pernambuco to celebrate. See pictures:



In Argentina, the communities of the Asociación Israelita de las Pampas (AIP) held a Purim party on Saturday night, March 15th, right after Shabbat, with a costume parade, election of Queen Esther and a reading of the Megillat.




Coronel Soares

At the Arlene Fern Community School, from Fundación Judaica, to celebrate Purim recalling the ancient tradition, all students came dressed in costumes for an afternoon of study and fun, games and plastic activities.

Arlene Fern

Arlene Fern

Arlene Fern

Arlene Fern

In Chile, creativity was not restricted to the costumes, and the Purim party at the Ruaj Ami community even had a karaoke machine so that everyone could sing. And in Sociedad Israelita Max Nordau, in Valparaiso, youth and young adults gathered for the feast of Purim.

Ruaj Ami


Adat Israel- Reform Jewish Association of Guatemala, beyond reading the Maguila Ester, there was a costume contest to celebrate Purim with much joy.

Adat Israel

Adat Israel

 Rabbi Leonardo Alanati receives Honoris Causa title

The WUPJ Latin America congratulates Rabbi Leonardo Alanati, from the Congregação Israelita Mineira (CIM), who received the title of Doctor of Divinity, Honoris Causa, granted by the Hebrew Union College, in Cincinnati (USA), on the occasion of his 25 years as a rabbi. On the day of the tribute, the CIM announced that it is soon going to launch a book with a collection of Rabbi Alanati's sermons during this period.

 Brazilian Rabbi participates in an Inter-religious event in Qatar

Rabbi Michel Schlesinger, of the CIP and Conib representative for inter-religious dialogue, participated at the end of March in the 11th edition of the Inter-Religious Dialogue Conference held in Qatar and promoted by the Doha International Center of Interfaith Dialogue.

The central theme of the conference was the role of the youth in the inter-religious dialogue and Schlesinger spoke about the public demonstrations in Brazil in 2013 and the repercussion in the social media of the visit of Pope Francis to Rio de Janeiro, which also occurred last year.

In response to a question by a young Palestinian who lives in Eastern Jerusalem, the rabbi answered: "We need to emphasize the evidence that our problems are not religious. On the contrary, together in religion we have the potential to forge the bases for a solution to our territorial, political and economic conflicts. If we can acknowledge each other as creatures of a single God and transmit this message with clarity to the younger people, then we will be capable of joining efforts in the search for a solution to that which still divides us".

 Community in Brasilia celebrates 50 years

The Associação Cultural Israelita de Brasília (ACIB) celebrated the 50-year anniversary of its foundation on March 16th, which this year coincided with the Purim holiday. The first minutes of the meeting say: "20 Jews decided to create an entity that serves as a base for families to get together and fulfill the religious rituals, and it is also a meeting place to make friends and discuss, discuss, discuss".

After many comings and goings for the construction of the synagogue, the ACIB acquired its Torah Book last year and every day it increases its actions for promoting Jewish culture and religious tradition, welcoming Jews who live in or are travelling through the Brazilian capital.

 Chazit Rio de Janeiro has a new home in Rio
The headquarters of the Chazit Hanoar youth movement in Rio de Janeiro were completely renovated with the support of the ARI-RJ and with contributions from various people. The house was re-inaugurated on March 15th, eve of Purim and the date for the start of activities in 2014 with many young people, their families and former activists.

The placement of the mezuzah was done in the presence of the Rabbis Sergio Margulies and Dario Bialer, the Chazzan Oren Boljover, the president of the ARI, Ricardo Gorodovits, and also Marcelo Rochlin – who was responsible for executing the renovation – and Carol Freihof, the mazkira of the Chazit.  

 Questions and answers about Progressive Judaism

What is the "status" of women according to Progressive Judaism?

Progressive Judaism has equality among men and women in all aspects of community life as one of its main guidelines. Jewish tradition teaches that the woman, just like the man, was created in the image and likeness of God and that both are equal partners of the divine pact. However, this idea has not always been put into practice in daily life.

The condition of women changed throughout Jewish history. With the passing of time she was granted important rights and protections. Even though in biblical times women were the property of their husbands, it became impossible in rabbinical times to marry a woman against her will.

Religious equality among men and women was one of the pioneer concepts of the beginning of the Jewish religious reform. Progressive Judaism instituted the Confirmation for girls as a variant of the boys' Bar Mitzvah, over 150 years ago. It was, however, only the mid 20th century that women began to be called up to the Torah. Today it is customary in progressive synagogues for girls to have their Bat Mitzvah, fulfilling exactly the same educational and religious requirements as the boys.

The families that adopt Progressive Judaism celebrate the birth of girls with a specific ceremony that confirms the pact between God and his people, held either at the home of the family or at the synagogue. Women today can and should become rabbis, can conduct religious services and are considered in the counting of the minyan required for public prayer.



 Connections 2015

In the process of preparations for the next International Conference of the WUPJ-Connections 2015, were in visit to Rio de Janeiro from Israel, Mr. Shai Pinto, Vice President of Operations (COO) of the WUPJ-World Union for Progressive Judaism.
On the occasion he gave an interesting interview addressing the Progressive Judaism and the choice of Rio de Janeiro as the host of the next Conference.

World Union for Progressive Judaism - Latin America