Issue # 92 – July 2015 / Tamuz - Av 5775.
 Rabbi Panken speaks about the challenges of Reform Judaism
During his trip to Brazil for the Connections 2015, Rabbi Aaaron Panken, President of the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, gave an exclusive interview to the communications team of the WUPJ Latin America.

"Presently, we also see various changes in society. There are various topics: new technologies, family issues, new cultures, how to be part of a religion when many people no longer believe that religion is something good, globalization. All of this shows that Judaism needs to rethink itself again. And I believe that Reform Judaism is the best path for this."

Read the interview

 Reliving Connections 2015
It was only a few weeks ago that we were together in Rio de Janeiro to celebrate CONNECTIONS 2015 – the 37th Biennial World Union Conference, Simcha, Soul and Solidarity.

And what great days we had! With over 300 delegates from 20 countries, appreciating inspiring speeches, excellent exhibits and sessions, innovative examples of Tikun Olam, exciting City Tours and a lot of music and dancing. The experience left us proud, energized and connected, full of Simcha, Soul and Solidarity.

And now, some of these very special moments are available for you in pictures and videos!

For the video:

Please click here for CONNECTIONS 2015 video online, or follow the instructions downloading it to your computer.

For the pictures:

Please click here to see the CONNECTIONS 2015 album online.

We are also happy to share the wonderful from CONNECTIONS to CONNECTIONS achievements presentation, the presentation on the achievements of Connections that we had the opportunity to watch at the event's opening ceremony. Go ahead and share it with your friends and use it at any time!
Todah Rabah! Thank you!     
 Creating connections
As a consequence of the connections established at the Connections 2015 and a significant spiritual experience is to visit the WUPJ congregations when on a trip far away from home. On the one had, it meets the criteria of belonging to klal Israel (the people of Israel) and on the other hand it allows us to experience Shabbat, even during trips for work or play.

This is the case of Dalia and Ricardo Gorodovits, the president from the ARI-RJ and his wife. "We had the pleasure on being at the Kabalat Shabbat services on June 12, 2015 at Temple Israel of the City of New York with Rabbi David J Gelfand. It is always interesting to experience a Kabalat Shabbat different from ours due to its local characteristics, but also similar to ours in the traditions, content and the unique and universal way of Judaism which makes us feel at home wherever we are around the world", they told us.

Another example is from Zeev Katz, President of the Centro Israelita de Pernambuco, who was at the Holy Blossom Temple, in Toronto, Canada, guest of Carole Sterling, Chair of the WUPJ and Les Rothschild, President of Arza Canada.

To learn how to find congregations during your travels around the world, contact Rabbi Gary Bretton-Granatoor at (, in New York.

 Sefer Torah donated by the ARI-RJ arrives in China
Kehillat Shanghai, in China, received with celebration the Sefer Torah donated by the ARI-RJ during the Connections 2015 conference. "When hearing the story and significance of this Sefer Torah, I noticed that this is a perfect symbol of Jewish solidarity", stated Jeanine Buzali, Member of the Board of the Chinese community referring to the fact that the Chazzan Joseph Aronsohn had taken the Sefer Torah to Rio de Janeiro when he fled Germany at the time of the Second World War through the Shanghai route.

 Bruchim Habaim - Templo Libertad, the first synagogue in Buenos Aires, Argentina
 is the newest affiliate of the WUPJ – Latin America
With a very powerful symbolism of how Judaism can be renovated nowadays, CIRA, Comunidad Israelita de la República Argentina, better known as Templo Libertad, recently affiliated to the WUPJ.

This was one of the first synagogue in Argentina, with its headquarters built in 1932 in Buenos Aires. (

In this way, the WUPJ Latin America also renews its mission of building bridges between the Reform / Progressive congregations in the region, supporting and organizing programs with inclusive Jewish content.

 Congreso Judío Latinoamericano and WUPJ promote debate between young adults
The New Generations Group of the Congreso Judío Latinoamericano (CJL) in partnership with the WUPJ, held a conference in São Paulo about 'Jewish Identity' with Rabbi Rogerio Cukierman. After the presentations, the rabbi asked everyone to answer the question – "what is the most important element of your Jewish identity?"- on their smartphones. With various options and based on their answers, he immediately announced a statistic, opening a debate based on a text with biblical verses, portions of the Mishnah and the Pessach Hagaddah.

With a rich and vast range of opinions, those present and the lecturer were able to show the mosaic that is Judaism and its daily practice. A new meeting should happen soon, bringing together young people from both these groups to strengthen, even more, the commitment to train and renew Jewish leadership.

 Rabbi from Argentinean community participates in an international meeting
Rabbi Karina Finkielstein, from NCI Emanu El community in Buenos Aires, Argentina, participated at the end of May and beginning of June in the 15th Conference of the Women's Rabbinic Network in Denver, Colorado, in the United States.

Created in 1975, as part of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), the Women's Rabbinic Network has as its objective to provide support and advocacy for the interests of female rabbinic students in the Reform movement.

 Exchange between communities
Exchange between communities - I

The Brazilian Rabbi Rogerio Cukierman went to the Ruaj Ami community in Santiago, Chile to participate in meetings with the local leaders. He also participated in the religious services of Kabalat Shabbat and Shabbat morning services. The rabbi also participated in a Beit Din - rabbinical tribunal needed to conduct conversions to Judaism - in the Santiago community that is affiliated to the WUPJ, together with Rabbi Chaim Koritzinsky and the spiritual leader Martin Hirsch from the affiliated community from Concepción, Chile.

Exchange between communities - II

Congregação Israelita Mineira (CIM), in Belo Horizonte, was visited on by Rabbi Uri Lam June 5th and 6th. He conducted the Kabalat Shabbat service bringing together over 150 people at the Tiferet Israel synagogue.

Exchange between communities - III

One of the most important programs organized by the WUPJ-LA, Programa Alcance, has been a success in Brasilia. Morah Miriam Markus from Congregação Israelita Paulista (CIP-SP), has made regular visits supporting the ACIB in its different activities. At the meeting at the end of May, Morah Miriam taught about Shavuot to the More Experienced Group, and conducted the Kabalat Shabbat services for the children with the help of Cantor Abrahan Moises Melul, which ended with a large celebration when the children sang Happy Birthday to Mrs. Lulu Landwehr who was celebrating her 90th birthday. In this festive atmosphere, the young people got together with Morah Miriam to organize a youth group with participants of pre and post bar/bat mitzvah ages.

 Devarim 26

Issue number 26 of Devarim – magazine of Reform Jews in Brazil – is already being distributed. This issue is super special as it has a collection of 15 texts from previous issues of Devarim in three languages – Portuguese, English and Spanish – fulfilling the demand of the participants from around the world who came to the Connections 2015. This is a collector's edition!

To receive Devarim at home, free of charge, you need to register online on the website

 Judaism with an accessible language
The translation of the Chumash - composed of the five books of Moses from the Torah, as well as the Haftarot, texts written and inspired by the prophets – into Portuguese is still within the timeframe that was established by the community.

This project was created by Rabbi Gunther Plaut to offer an alternative for Progressive congregations. During Connections 2015, the participants had the opportunity of seeing part of the texts. The comments were very positive:

"I consider this project to be of utmost importance since it will bring a progressive view of the Tanach in a clear and modern language to our congregations and to all those interested. Since we slowly update our progressive institutions so that they are connected to the demands of today's world, it is imperious that we have prayer and study materials that reflect this philosophy."

Arieh Zagarodny

"Through the excellent comments, it is clear that when it comes to biblical interpretation of rules and principles, nothing should be considered so objective that it does not deserve a more detailed analysis. It is exactly the capacity to interpret the biblical propositions that allows the reconciliation between the pillars and the traditions of Judaism with the inevitable evolution of religion in the modern world."

Breno Casiuch

 Questions and answers regarding Progressive Judaism
How does Progressive Judaism contribute to Jewish survival?

We believe religion should be relevant and that Jewish life can be at home in free lands. We believe that without a modern, rational approach to Judaism many, if not most, Jews who live in lands of freedom would have been lost to Judaism. Assimilation means the disappearance of a distinctive way of life through intermarriage, apathy or ignorance. By providing a mechanism for Jews to be part of contemporary society without denying their Jewish identity, Progressive Judaism contributes substantially to Jewish survival. Progressive Jews have built new congregations, schools and rabbinic colleges all over the world.

The Progressive movement has pioneered many aspects of Jewish religious education. It fosters Jewish art and music, literature and scholarship. Throughout the world, men and women of progressive Jewish congregations lead many different Jewish groups—charitable, Zionist, cultural and social. In Europe and America, many progressive Jewish congregations are now more than 200 years old. The descendants of the families of these congregations are very much involved in Jewish life.