Issue # 99 – February 2016 / Shevat –Adar I/ 5776.
 São Paulo 2016

 CaféVeUgá – new activity by the Shirat Miriam group is successful
The Shirat Miriam, group, from the Congregação Israelita Paulista (CIP), promotes the "CaféVeUgá" which is a monthly informal gathering with coffee, cakes and chat before the Kabalat Shabbat service.

Created at CIP in 2013 as the first group in Latin America of WRJ-Women for Reform Judaism (, this group proposes the study, reflection and debate of Jewish topics according to the feminine point of view. They meet every month for lectures with special guests who bring the most diverse topics and they also promote other activities in the congregation.

 Iad Be Iad (CIP) – Meeting in Israel with leaders of the Reform Movement
The proposal of the Iad Be Iad, CIP's Campo de Estudos (overnight camp), is to offer a trip that is not simply a sightseeing trip. The idea is for the youngsters ages 15 to 17 to get to know Israel, its ancient and present day history and to learn about the reality of the State of Israel through meetings with members of society and the challenges each one faces. One of the special moments of the Iad Be Iad was the meeting of CIP's future madrichim with leaders of WUPJ in Jerusalem. At this meeting, our youngsters were able to learn about the projects of WUPJ in the State of Israel and in the Jewish world, for example, the constant work done in order to obtain recognition for the liberal religious movements by the State of Israel and its forums. Next, they had a meeting with future madrichim from Telem and Noam Youth Movements in Israel.

The group made up of 22 youngsters travelled in the company of Rabbi Michel Schlesinger, of the madrich Guilherme E. Pasmanik and of the sheliach André Wajnberg who was also the group's guide.

 Worldwide seminar of the Tnuá Netzer Olami
Read the declaration by Tatiana Dzik, madricha at CIP, who participated in the meeting held in Israel in January:

"This was an incredible opportunity, where I learned a lot in lectures related to the Veidá 2016 topic, which was refugees, a problem that both Israel and the whole world are facing. Besides studying about refugees, we discussed our role as Jews and how to help them, since, during our history we were refugees in Egypt.

In the middle of all this, we had the asseifot, which are debates on problems or issues faced by the snifim around the world, in which they all vote to approve or reject projects or changes.

For me, the most enriching aspect of this experience was getting to know young people from all over the world who believe in the same Jewish values that Campo de Estudos of CIP believe in, we were from fourteen countries with different languages and cultures, but one ideology united us. The work we conduct in Brazil is also conducted in the five continents and that represents our strength".


 Exchange among the communities
Rabbi Uri Lam, from the Congregação Israelita Mineira (CIM), visited the Associação Israelita Catarinense (AIC) on January 15 to 17. The objective of the visit was to increase the exchange between the two communities that are affiliated to the WUPJ. During this visit, Rabbi Uri, together with Chazzan Luis (Vavá) Prist, conducted a touching Kabalat Shabbat service for a group of almost 70 people who filled the sanctuary.

On Saturday morning they held a Shacharit service with a reading of the Torah and in the afternoon the rabbi met with various families. During the whole weekend, the rabbi and Director Ethel Scliar, who represented President Rosita Schmid, had lengthy conversations about the challenges faced by both congregations and how they can collaborate with each other. Rabbi Lam also had the opportunity to meet with other local leaders. We hope to see the fruits of this wonderful meeting soon.

 Tu Bishvat Seder is celebrated at CIP with the support of JNF Brasil
On Sunday evening, January 24th , a Seder for Tu Bishvat was held at the CIP, with the support of JNF Brasil.

The Shirat Miriam group organized the event with great expertise, a great vibe and harmony. The Seder that attended by over 60 people, and was conducted by Rabbi Ruben Sternschein, who involved all the participants while they celebrated and learned about this chag. Everyone ate from the four groups of typical group, sang, recited the blessings and read the material specially prepared for the occasion. The decoration of the venue with JNF flags gave a special touch that made the participants feel like they were in Israel.

"We, from JNF, presented a historical movie of the Tu Bishvat celebration in Israel in 1950 and spoke about some peculiarities of our work. At the end of the celebration, we enjoyed a wonderful dinner of dishes brought by the participants. To my surprise, a lady came to tell me that she was touched when she recognized herself in the movie of JNF, because she had participated in the celebrations of Tu Bishvat in Israel when she was still a child", stated JNF's director in Brasil, Marcelo Schapo.

 From youth, for youth
The 17th Annual Youth Conference of the WUPJ organized and directed by TaMaR group, together with TLAMIM (organization of progressive youth in Israel) will be held in Jerusalem from March 30th to April 3rd, 2016.

The program is being prepared by "youth for youth", with the topics "Creating a new young Jewish identity in a changing world"; "Economy and social entrepreneurship"; and "Anti-Semitism and boycotting Israel".

This year registration is open so that various representatives from each organization can participate. For more information contact Orit Shoshani

 Ma Nishtanah? Why are WUPJ trips so different from all of your other trips?
WUPJ Seminars Trips in 2016 – Live this unforgettable experience!

• Kenes TaMaR – March 30 – April 3, Israel:

• Berlin & London: Celebrating 90 Years of the WUPJ, April 7-14. Click here for details.

• European Union for Progressive Judaism (EUPJ), Biennial Conference, April 14-17, England.

• The Law under the Israeli perspective: Searching for Justice, May 11-16. Click here for details.

• Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism (IMPJ) Conference, May 27-28, Israel.

• Israel: Israeli Reform Judaism through an internal perspective, May 19-26. Click here for details.

• South Africa: An Adventure through Africa & Safari, July 6-17. Click here for details.

• The Bergman Seminar for Jewish Educators July 14-24, Israel.

• Far East: China Singapore, November 9-18. Click here for details.

 Questions and answers about Progressive Judaism
Are we obligated to give tzedakah (charity)?

In Jewish tradition, tzedakah is a mitzvah, a religious obligation. The word is derived from the Hebrew root meaning "justice" and "righteousness." Tzedakah, conceived as justice, means that the needs of the recipient lie at the heart of our concern. Many passages in the Torah instruct us in the value of tzedakah. In Deuteronomy 15:7-8 we are instructed, "If there is a needy person among you…do not harden your heart…Rather, you must open your hand and lend whatever is sufficient to meet the need."

Maimonides (1135-1204), one of the greatest Torah scholars, wrote extensively about tzedakah. He identified eight levels of giving, from doing so grudgingly to the highest form, helping a person with a loan or gift or employment that will allow the person to become self-supporting and no longer be dependent on others.

One of the traditions associated with Shabbat is giving tzedakah. Many people have a special tzedakah box and prior to lighting the Shabbat candles, they deposit money in the box. After a specified amount of money is collected, or at certain times of the year, such as Hanukkah, a donation is made to a worthy cause. Involving children in this process is a great way to teach the importance of this mitzvah.

Rabbi Victor Appell

See more here

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