Issue # 86 – January 2015 /Tevet-Shevat, 5775.

 2014 and the presence of the WUPJ in Latin America
The activities conducted by the WUPJ-LA in 2014 reinforce the objective of strengthening and expanding the presence of the institution and of Progressive Judaism in the countries within the region. We presented an activities report of everything that occurred in 2014 to the affiliated entities, collaborators and local Jewish community, emphasizing that all of this was possible due to the efforts and dedication of professional, lay leaders and volunteers, as well as the support of sponsors and of the Yad B'Yad Task Force.

Too see this report click here.

The lights and happiness of Hanukkah
The atmosphere of fellowship and fraternization due to the end of a cycle of the civil calendar also spreads to the WUPJ's affiliated congregations. The fact that it coincides with the celebrations of Hanukkah makes the holiday of the Jewish calendar even livelier with very special activities.

In Buenos Aires, the first night of Hanukkah included the presentation of various choirs and the presence of the president of the WUPJ International, Rabbi Daniel Freelander. On the day of the lighting of the eighth candle, a public ceremony at the Plaza del Vaticano (Vatican Square) included the participation of members of the Instituto de Diálogo Inter-religioso (Inter-religious Dialogue Institute), of the Pastoral Social del Episcopado (Episcopal Committee for Social Affairs) and of governing authorities and local entrepreneurs. The Events were organized by the communities of the Fundación Judaica: CIRA, NCI-Emanu El and Templo de Paso.

At the ARI-RJ, two occasions were special. At the Kabalat Shabbat, the people brought their hanukkiot for a collective lighting. In another activity, the children made their own hanukkiot and participated in many games.

Music and cheer also marked the Hanukkah celebrations at the CIP, where a Shirá Betsibur was held on the first night, with everyone singing together traditional Hanukkah songs as well as Israeli and Brazilian songs related to the "lights" and "miracles" themes. On the second night, the historian Maria Luiza Tucci Carneiro participated in a young couples' meeting to speak about her new book "Os 10 mitos sobre os judeus" (The Ten Myths about Jews).

The harmonious coexistence with other religions was also evident in the celebration at the SIBRA, in Porto Alegre, which was attended by the Archbishop Jaime Spengler for the lighting of the first candle.

In Fortaleza, various families got together at the Sociedade Israelita do Ceará (SIC) to celebrate the "festival of lights".

A festival of hanukkiot, with many lights, marked the passing of Hanukkah at the Comunidad Israelita de Concepción,
in the south of Chile.

At the Asociación Judia de Guatemala Adat Israel, the Hanukkah celebration had special activities for the young kids.

As could not be otherwise, in Argentina, the small communities that belong to the AIP (Asociación Israelita de las Pampas) also celebrated the lighting of the candles with much joy and relaxation.

 Music and Hanukkah
With the theater at the Hebraica/Rio de Janeiro at full capacity, the chazanim Oren Boljover and André Nudelman, from the ARI, and David Alhadeff, accompanied on the piano by the conductor Regina Lacerda, touched the hearts of the public in attendance. The program included Hanukkah songs, traditional and modern liturgical compositions, songs in Yiddish and Ladino and a tribute to Shlomo Carlebach, considered one of the main rabbis/cantors of the 20th century.

The chazanim Oren and André, from ARI, also showed how excited they are with the preparations for the 9th edition of the Lashir Benefesh conference that will be held during the Connection 2015 conference in May in Rio de Janeiro.

In Buenos Aires, the Chazanim Festival – NCI Emanuel / Fundación Judaica was also remarkable. Organized by Rabbi Karina Finkielsztein, the meeting included the participation of Adrian Fada, Gaston Heller, Diego Rubinsztein and Hernán Rustein, presenting melodies in Hebrew, Yiddish and Ladino.

 President of the WUPJ International visits Argentina
The Fundación Judaica, in Buenos Aires, was visited by Rabbi Daniel Freelander, president of the WUPJ International on December 16th to the 18th. With an intense itinerary, he became acquainted with the local activities and participated in a valuable exchange of experiences. Rabbi Freelander visited the headquarters of the Templo de Paso, NCI-Emanu El, Mishkan, Judaica Norte and Libertad. He also visited the Escuela Comunitaria Arlene Fern (community school). He also complimented the professionals and volunteers, and promised to publicize his experience to all of the Progressive Jewish communities throughout the world. The itinerary also included visits to the construction site of the Centro Comunitario Judaico Belgrano (Belgrano Jewish Community Center), to the AMIA, the Congreso Judio Latinoamericano (Jewish Latin American Congress) and the Seminario Rabínico Latinoamericano (Latin American Rabbinical Seminar).

 Center for Judaic Studies and progressive liberal reform rabbinical Institute based in Buenos Aires, Argentina
The WUPJ-LA is very happy with the important steps taken to install a Center for Judaic Studies and progressive liberal reform rabbinical Institute at the headquarters of the Mishkán community in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Local leaders participated in a first meeting: Rabbi Reubén Nisenbom, Rabbi Gabriel Mazer and Ricardo Rotholtz, Mishkán representatives; and Rabbi Sergio Bergman, Rabbi Karina Finkielsztein and Mario Ruschin, representatives of the Fundación Judaica.

Preparation of the content, programs and organizational chart of the Center for Judaic Studies and the Institute will begin soon.

 Confirmed: Josh Nelson and Neshama Carlebach at CONNEXIONS 2015
The prince and princess of contemporary Jewish music, Josh Nelson and Neshama Carlebach, will provide the inspiring soundtrack for the CONNECTIONS 2015, the international celebration of our movement - World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ), which will be held on May 13 to 16 in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.

At the CONNECTIONS 2015, this dynamic duo will serve as Scholars in Residence for the musicians at the conference and will provide the musical scenario for the whole event. Carlebach and Nelson will also conduct a workshop called "Music for the soul" that will explore the most varied elements of traditional Jewish music. Furthermore, they will participate in the 9th edition of the Lashir Benefesh seminar prepared especially for chazanim, liturgical cantors and musicians from Latin American. During two days, the participants of the seminar will learn, work, share, create and inspire each other, focusing on improving their repertoire and capabilities.

A small sample of what awaits us: listen to Carlebach and Nelson together.

We remind you that the link for online registration is available for all those interested in participating in the 37th WUPJ Biennial Conference – Connections 2015, May 13th to the 16th, in Rio de Janeiro. With the theme "Simcha, Soul and Solidarity", the conference will feature inspiring lectures, stimulating workshops and thought-provoking debates.

More information is available of the website or by e-mail at

 Meeting of young Latin America Jews - Tikun Olam

We invite young Latin American Jews, ages 20 to 35, to enjoy a unique conference. This will be a conference in which we will combine the energy and strength of the youth with that of the adults. This time we will be a part of the CONNECTIONS 2015 international conference in which all of the progressive congregations, communities and organizations of the world come together. The young people will participate in lectures, workshops, panels and other activities.

Furthermore, we have our own locations for lectures, study, project sharing, communal areas in the synagogue and much of what the city of Rio de Janeiro has to offer.

We propose a weekend filled with experiences, workshops and exchange that will enrich our identity as Zionists and young Liberal Jews.

We will focus on the aspects that create our Jewish identity through TIKUN OLAM. We will approach questions and answers that are in our rabbinical and cultural sources on these topics. We will deal with social change as a result of individual and personal changes: Tikun Atzmi; that can originate Adam Tikun – reparation of the human being. Mifgash gives us the opportunity of facing current and relevant topics.

We will share projects from the Brazilian Jewish community, related to community service, trying to recover new methods of social action that will enrich us transforming us into active members of our society.

 Bergman Seminar for Jewish Educators – "Creating Meaningful Connections"
Another edition of the Bergman Seminar for Progressive Jewish Educators will be held on July 2 to 12, 2015 in Israel, with the theme "Creating Meaningful Connections". The course, whose target audience is educators from Progressive Jewish Communities throughout the world, combines classroom and text study with visits to various locations where the content of the studies can be experienced hands on. The multidisciplinary curriculum includes concepts related to culture, spirituality, language, history and memory, as well as dealing with the common topics and the differences between the Jewish communities in Israel and the Diaspora. The seminar will also explore the three central components of Jewish existence: the Jewish people, the Torah and the Land of Israel.

The complete program of the seminar and the registration form are available on the website

More information and registration forms can be obtained by email at or

 Questions and answers of Progressive Judaism

How does Progressive Judaism embrace tradition and work so that it becomes significant
in contemporary life?

Judaism is built on the history and the laws established in the Torah (the Five Books of Moses). It emphasizes ethical behavior and prescribes a way of life, showing how people should, for example, behave in society, work, rest, eat, celebrate and much more.

Progressive Judaism maintains all of these traditions and tries to make its practice significant in contemporary life.

Progressive Jews believe that the Torah comes from God, but it is the task of human beings to apply his teachings to our times. The Halakha, Jewish law, is not a static set of decisions taken by the rabbis in the past, but a vital process, that continues to require a reflection on the fundamental beliefs within the context of the today's world.


World Union for Progressive Judaism - Latin America