Issue # 95 – October 2015 / Tishrei - Cheshvan 5776.
 Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur: WUPJ wherever you are
Latin America

The period of the High Holy Days usually means a full house at the synagogues in general. It is obviously the same at the WUPJ Latin America congregations. Below you can see some pictures of remarkable moments, filled with emotion and spirituality.

Adat Israel




Adat Israel




Spain and United States

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur also confirm the unity of Jews all around the world. Along these lines, it is important to point out the experiences of two activists from Latin America that spent the holidays far from home. Ricardo J. Rotholtz, from Argentina, had the privilege of attending the first reform religious service in Madrid, Spain.

And David Kirsch, from Brazil, was moved by the ceremony at the Temple Sinai in Orlando, Florida.


A Sefer Torah donated by the ARI-RJ made it possible for them to conduct the first religious Rosh Hashanah service in 70 years at the Ohel Moshe synagogue in the Chinese district of Hongkou. At this location, which today is a museum, the local authorities permitted them to use the space to celebrate the Jewish New Year.

The Sefer Torah was donated to the Kehillat Shanghai during the Connections 2015 conference held in Rio de Janeiro in May. The Sefer Torah arrived in Brazil at the time of the Second World War, when the chazzan Joseph Joseph Aronsohn fled Germany through the Shanghai route.

 ARI Rabbi wins the "Men of Action, Men of Value" award
Rabbi Sérgio Margulies, from the ARI-RJ, was one of the recipients o the "Men of Action, Men of Value" award promoted by the Hebraica – Rio club. The recognition is granted to ten prominent figures in specific activities within the Jewish community and the community at large. Besides Margulies, the following were honored: Bernardo Griner (engineer and community activist); Flavio Stanger (engineer and entrepreneur); Kobi Lichtenstein (Krav Magá pioneer in Brasil); Leonel Kaz (author, journalist and editor); Luiz Gleizer (Director at Rede Globo); Marcelo Calero (Secretary of Culture of the city of Rio de Janeiro); Rony Meisler (owner of the Reserva brand of clothing); Rubem Cesar Fernandes (anthropologist and Director of the Viva Rio NGO); Ziraldo (author and cartoonist).

 Explaining Progressive Judaism to young people
The Executive Director the WUPJ-LA, Karin C. Zingerevitz, participated in a laid back discussion with 10th grade students at the Colégio Renascença, as part of the school's proposal to explain to the students the various movements within Judaism. Karin spoke about controversial topics, such as the responsibility of each individual in God's image and when facing situations such as the one with the Syrian refugees. She also discussed the Jewish sources from where rabbis established the rules of Traditional Judaism and how Progressive Judaism can provide opportunities during one's personal attempt to honor values and traditions.

 Recife re-inaugurates library

Re-inauguration of the "Biblioteca Anne Frank -
Homenagem Ramiro Koatz e Anita Printsak",
with Mr. Israel Averbuch installing the Mezuzah
on the entry doorway.

 Helping the refugees who seek asylum in Europe
The European region of the WUPJ (EUPJ) is organizing a donation campaign – Refugee Crisis Appeal – to help programs that provide assistance for the refugees fleeing war and persecution that are arriving in Europe. The World Jewish Relief organization is collecting the amounts raised. For more information visit the website.

 Registration is open for the Beutel Leadership Seminar 2016
Held for the first time in 2004, the Beutel Leadership Seminar, promoted by the WUPJ in Israel, highlights the importance of educating and training leaders from the progressive communities that do not have any rabbinical training.

Since hundreds of people have already participated in the program, it is common to find ex-students of the Beutel contributing in various manners in the communities that are part of the WUPJ.

The next edition of the Beutel Seminar will be held in Israel on February 4th to the 14th, 2016. The registration form and proposed itinerary are on the website of the WUPJ's Anita Saltz International Education Center.

 WUPJ-LA supports course for educational leaders in São Paulo

The Shidrug is a course offered by the Congregação Israelita Paulista/CIP-SP, for recycling and deeper study of Jewish content, resulting in higher quality, diversity and quantity of young Jewish leaders and their stance within society.

Sixteen young adults were chosen from the CIP, Comunidade Shalom, Federação Israelita de São Paulo, Fundo Comunitário and Colégio Renascença for this new class.

The first class was held on September 20 and had the special participation of Michel Gherman, Professor from the UFRJ (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro) and Director of the Escola Eliezer Max (Rio de Janeiro) and Fernando Lottenberg, President of the CONIB, who spoke on the topic: Educational and institutional challenges for Jews and Judaism in Brazil. The WUPJ-LA supports this innovative visionary project.

 Meeting in the Sukkah
The Latin American Jewish Congress (LAJC) and the WUPJ-LA organized a wonderful meeting on October 1st in the Sukkah with the theme: "A generation in the desert, a life on the streets."

Our ancestors lived for over 40 years in unstable and fragile dwellings. We believe that when celebrating Sukkot, when we shelter ourselves in tents, we remind ourselves of that vulnerability. This was the moment chosen to speak about the lack of housing affecting the population in São Paulo who live on the streets, without knowing where they will sleep and how they will support themselves.

A special guest at this meeting was the activist Andrea Pludwisnki, founder of the Grupo Anjos da Cidade (Angels of the City), that for over two decades has been helping the homeless people in São Paulo. She told us how she provides food and caring for this population and how this impacts the lives and future of the homeless. Every week the Anjos da Cidade Group visits people who lack housing and food, but more than that, who are deprived of respect and dignity, and it is this type of support that Andrea and her group try to provide.

Approximately 30 young people were at the Sukkah, listening to stories that Andrea hears on the streets and learning more about the reality of our city. All of the participants donated food and clothing to be distributed by the NGO.

 Questions and answers regarding Progressive Judaism
How do you celebrate the Jewish Festivals?

'These are My fixed times which you shall proclaim as sacred occasions'. Leviticus 23:2

Festivals are an important part of Jewish life and in the life of every Jew. They play a crucial role in keeping tradition alive, contributing a sense of community and belonging,

and reminding us of important historical events – as well as providing the chance for reflection and celebration. The most important Jewish holy days are the Sabbath, the two High Holy Days (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) and the three pilgrimage festivals (Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot). It is customary to not work on these days.

"The Days of Awe" are 10 days, which begin on Rosh Hashanah and run until the end of Yom Kippur, and are devoted to introspection, repentance, and atonement for sin.

The three "Pilgrimage Festivals" – Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot – are festivals on which Jews used to make pilgrimages to the Temple in Jerusalem with offerings for God from the harvest.

Pesach (Passover) is the holiday that commemorates the Exodus, the liberation of the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt.

Source:"Living Judaism – The key principles of Jewish Life" – UPJ/ Union of Progressive Judaism. Australia, Asia and New Zealand Region.