Issue # 94 – September 2015 / Elul 5775 – Tishrei 5776.
 The fight against anti-Semitism
The Associação Israelita Catarinense (AIC) welcomed Rabbi Joseph Edelheit, Professor from St. Cloud State University, in Minnesota, USA. During his stay in Florianopolis, he had a meeting with the Dean of the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC), Roselane Nockel, where they talked about the increase of anti-Semitism. After the conversation, representatives from the AIC and the university decided that the topic will be presented during the Research and Extension Week at the UFSC in 2016.

Edelheit also discussed Anti-Semitism and the challenges Progressive Jews living in the Diaspora face today during his meetings at the headquarters of the AIC.

Also during his trip to Brazil, the Rabbi visited the Associação Cultural Israelita de Brasília (ACIB), where he participated in a Kabalat Shabbat and spoke about the importance of Progressive Judaism for the future of Israel and of all the Jewish people.

 Reach Project gains strength in Brasilia
The Congregação Israelita Paulista (CIP), in partnership with the WUPJ-LA, has been making their professionals available to provide support for the Associação Cultural Israelita de Brasília (ACIB), as part of the activities of the Reach Project. The community in Brasilia, which has already been conducting monthly activities with Morah Miriam Markus, welcomed Rabbi Ruben Sternschein from the CIP.

“I was very impressed with the community involvement from the families that I met and with the community of Brasilia as a whole. They were all very receptive and I am sure that this partnership will be of great importance for both communities”, stated Sternschein.

 Congregação Israelita Mineira Welcomes Rabbi Uri Lam
Over 200 people, among them the president of the WUPJ-LA, Raul Gottlieb, and Sergio Caraver, the president of the Sociedade Israelita Brasileira de Cultura e Beneficência, attended the first Kabalat Shabbat with Rabbi Uri Lam as the leader of the Congregação Israelita Mineira (CIM). They travelled, respectively, from Rio de Janeiro and Porto Alegre to Belo Horizonte especially for the occasion.

“I am thankful for the wonderful way in which the Jewish community in Belo Horizonte has received us, specially, of course, my new congregation, the CIM. This Shabbat was memorable. I thank the board of directors, the volunteer synagogue choir and the members of the community that packed the synagogue”, said Lam.

 Executive Director of the WUPJ-LA speaks about Community Service to young people at the CIP
The Executive Director of the WUPJ-LA, Karin C. Zingerevitz, was invited to participate in a meeting with the young people from the Garinim (seeds) Project, at the Congregação Israelita Paulista (CIP). The group is made up of madrichim from the CIP who are also volunteers at the Lar das Crianças (Children’s Home), where they conduct special activities.

During almost one hour, Karin spoke about the importance of knowing the Jewish sources, the mitzvoth that transform our lives and the values that Judaism teaches that guide our daily decisions. “Judaism has a lot to say about Community Service and our responsibility with regards to others and the world – this is one of the most important values of Reform Judaism. To study, understand and put into practice these values makes us better Jews, citizens and human beings”, stated the Executive Director of the WUPJ-LA.

 WUPJ-LA and Fundación Judaica leadership meeting in Buenos Aires
On the 13 and 14 August, the WUPJ-LA leadership met in Buenos Aires with several local community leaders to strengthen our commitment to Jews of our region, above all, strengthen our bond with the Fundación Judaica, our partner and affiliate for so many years. A major theme of this meeting was to give continuity to the proposed opening of a Jewish education course organized by the Fundación Judaica in Argentina. This program can revolutionize the formation of Jewish leadership in Latin America in the coming years and will be of fundamental importance to Judaism in the region, because it will facilitate (logistics and financially) the process of grooming leaders for our region, without giving up the least bit of qualification which our communities require.

 Women of Reform Judaism formally establishes its activities in Argentina

Representatives from the Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ) conducted a presentation of their activities to a group of women from the Fundación Judaica at the headquarters of the Arlene Fern School, in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The main objective is to form a study group to lead projects for women’s groups as well as to participate in WRJ international conferences.

Patricia Holzman, who works in the office of the Congressman and Rabbi Sergio Bergman, was one of the first to fill out the membership form.

 “The role of women and children in countries like Afghanistan and Iran”
The WUPJ-LA and the Congresso Judaico Latinoamericano conducted a lecture with the special reporter from the “O Estado de São Paulo” newspaper and writer Adriana Carranca, with the topic “The role of women and children in countries like Afghanistan and Iran”.

Adriana has conducted international news coverage in countries like Israel, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Egypt, Haiti, Mexico, Uganda, Congo, South Sudan, United States and Great Britain.

Recently, she launched the children’s book “Malala: The girl who wanted to go to school”, which tells the story of the Pakistani teenager who challenged the Taliban and won the Nobel Peace Prize.

 Special Shabbat in Guatemala
The Adat Israel Congregation in Guatemala held a special Shabbat at the end of July. Present were Rabbi Eliot Baskin,
from the Jewish Community Chaplaincy & Rafael Spiritual Healing Center of Jewish Family Service of Colorado,
and Rabbi Marla Feldman, Executive Director of the Women of Reform Judaism.

The visit was the initiative of the American Jewish World Service (AJWS) organization, which promotes actions for human rights in various parts of the world. In Guatemala, besides the meeting with the local Jewish community, the rabbis met with marginalized groups such as indigenous people and LGBT activists.

Rabbi Baskin will return to the Adat Israel Congregation this month of September to participate in the religious services of the High Holidays.

 Activities at the Chilean community

The Ruaj Amí community in Santiago de Chile, which is in the middle of a process to select a new rabbi or spiritual leader, held a series of activities with Diego Edelberg, author of the blog and of the book “Las 22 Palabras Esenciales del Judaísmo” (The 22 Essential Words of Judaism).

Besides the religious services of the Kabalat Shabbat, Edelberg conducted an open lecture for all those interested and had an exclusive conversation with the young people of the community.

 Check out the topics of the new issue of the DEVARIM magazine

The ARI-RJ already began mailing the new issue of the DEVARIM – the magazine of Brazilian Judaism.

Among the topics in this issue are Paralympic sports in Israel; the architecture of synagogues; Jews in France; memories of Bessarabia; and a review of the book that Amos Oz wrote with his daughter.

The magazine also has a hypothetical dialogue with Martin Buber about how Judaism defines what is sacred; a text about Piyut, the Jewish liturgical poem; and an analysis by Paulo Geiger on the challenges of Zionism and Jews in the present day.

The magazine is distributed freely. Just register on line on the website

 Baruch Dayan Haemet
On behalf of the World Union for Progressive Judaism-WUPJ, we express our condolences for the dead, in Israel,
of Willy Sternschein, father of Rabbi Ruben Sternschein, of Congregation Israelita Paulista-CIP, Brazil.

 Beutel Seminar

 Questions and answers regarding Progressive Judaism

I have heard that it is customary to visit loved ones' graves before or during the High Holidays. Is this true?


Traditional Jews make a point of visiting the graves of loved ones during the month of Elul just prior to the onset of the High Holidays, on the day before Rosh HaShanah, or the day before Yom Kippur. Many Jews also visit the cemetery on the loved one's birthday, an anniversary, or a special personal day. Visitations for the cemetery are not made on Shabbat or Jewish festival holidays.

Jewish tradition discourages excessive mourning and constant cemetery visitations, especially if it becomes an impediment to a return to life. Jeremiah 22:10 proclaims "Weep ye not [too much] for the dead." Wisely, though, Jewish practice provides for a regular, structured, communal expression of reminiscence, through yahrzeit and Yizkor.

Source: Rabbi Daniel B. Syme, The Jewish Home: A Guide for Jewish Living (URJ Press, 2004)
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