Issue # 87 – February 2015 / Shevat - Adar, 5775
 Death of Alberto Nisman - Justice must not be delayed...or denied
The World Union for Progressive Judaism joins the leadership of our Latin America region (WUPJ-LA) in expressing shock and horror as we learned the news of the death of Alberto Nisman, lead prosecutor in the search for the truth behind the bombing of the AMIA (Jewish Community Center) building in Bueno Aires over 10 years ago, which resulted in the death of 85 innocent victims and hundreds of individuals who suffered grave injury. We stand with the Jewish community in Latin America in demanding a complete examination of the cause of his death.

Alberto Nisman was a remarkable man, who relentlessly pursued the truth regardless of political motivation or consequence. The attack on the AMIA of July 18, 1994 was an attack on the entire Jewish community - but ultimately, it was an attack on the critical concepts of religious freedom and pluralism, among the World Union for Progressive Judaism's most important tenets.

While this tragic death may delay the justice we all seek, and for which Alberto Nisman's life was dedicated, we pray that justice finally win the day - and we learn the truth behind those responsible for the bombing of the AMIA, and the truth behind the death of Prosecutor Nisman. Those responsible must be held accountable.

Rabino Daniel H. Freelander
WUPJ President
Michael Grabiner
WUPJ Chairman
Raul Gottlieb
WUPJ-LA Chairman
Miriam Vasserman
WUPJ-LA Vice Chair

 WUPJ speaks up about the terrorist attacks in Paris
The murder of 12 people at the headquarters of the Charlie Hebdo newspaper in Paris on January 7th, and of another four consumers who were at a kosher supermarket two days later preparing for the Shabbat, were vehemently condemned by the leaders of the WUPJ throughout the world.

"We join the French congregations in expressing our outrage with regards to the murders in Paris. This loathsome act raises the concern of everyone who values freedom of speech and religious diversity. Our future depends, ultimately, on the determination of the governments to defend pluralism and show that this type of violence will not be tolerated", stated Rabbi Daniel H. Freelander, president of the WUPJ in an official statement.

 Connections 2015 – An unique opportunity to reflect on today's Judaism

The program for the 37th International Convention Connections 2015 is practically defined. The meeting which will be held on May 13th to the 16th in Rio de Janeiro, one of the major landmarks of Progressive Judaism in the world.

Registration is now open and all the details about the Connections 2015 are available on the website. On the link you can see a preview of the program.

Even before the official opening, on May 12th, there will be meetings with the WUPJ leaders, rabbis, young people and the Lashir Benefesh (with musicians and chazanim).

During the conference, there will be more than 20 sessions with debates on the vision of Progressive Judaism regarding religious themes and contemporary Judaism.

Do not waste any time! Register now, with special prices until February 15th! Click here.
 Mifgash at Connections – Conference of young Latin American Jews

 Bergman Seminar for Jewish Educators – "Creating Meaningful Connections"
For Jewish educators in Jewish schools and progressive and liberal congregations around the world.

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

 Brazilian presence at the international youth meeting
With the collaboration of the WUPJ-LA, the CIP Summer Camp ( was represented by the madrich Ariel Kövesi at the Tnuá Netzer Olami world seminar held in January in Jerusalem.

In Ariel's opinion, "the Veidá Netzer Olamit 2015 was a great opportunity to learn and exchange experiences. Besides learning new tnuati dynamics and concepts to bring back to the CIP Summer Camp, I was able to better learn about Jewish communities from different parts of the world".

Representatives from Progressive Jewish communities in the United States, Canada, South Africa, Germany, Spain, the Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Great Britain and Israel participated together with Kövesi.

 Celebrating Tu B'Shvat - "Jewish New Year of the trees"
The holiday is observed on the 15th (tu) day of the Hebrew month of Shevat (Feb 3-4, 2015). Scholars believe that originally Tu B'Shvat was an agricultural festival, marking the beginning of spring. The holiday also became a festival for the planting of trees in Israel, in which the Israeli and Jews around the world plant trees in honor or in memory of loved ones and friends.

 News in Santa Catarina
The Associação Israelita Catarinense (AIC) held a festive Kabalat Shabbat in January at its new headquarters to welcome the congregation's new management, with Rosita Schimid filling the position of president.

 ARI celebrates 73 years

The Associação Religiosa Israelita do Rio de Janeiro (ARI-RJ) celebrated its 73rd anniversary on January 13th, with special focus on the third generation of community leaders. "We honor the memory of the first generation remembering their achievements.

The second generation is retiring; our leaders todays are from the third generation. The fact that the majority of the present-day generation does not have family ties with the first generation attests to the vision of the pioneers and of the strength of the ARI. The mission is modified continuously, but the objective LATORÁ, ULCHUPÁ UL'MAASSIM TOVIM is continuous", stated Silvio Harburger, one of the oldest activists at the ARI.

 Questions and Answers of Progressive Judaism

I am familiar with the Pesach Seder, but what is a Tu B'Shvat Seder?

In the XVII century, the Cabbalists created a ritual for Tu B'Shvat similar to a Pesach Seder. They would get together for a meal with various dishes composed of fruits associated with the Land of Israel. The custom is to include in the Tu B'Shvat Seder food that includes fruits from three classes: thick-skinned fruit (oranges), fruit with pits (dates) and fruit that are totally edible (raisins).

Answer adapted from a text by Rabbi Victor Appel,