UJR-AmLat supports community activities and rabbinical visits to Brasília, Fortaleza, and Recife
The UJR-AmLat supported rabbi Shlomo Zagman’s visit from Israel to Brazil, involving him in community activities in some of its affiliates: ACIB (Brasília), SIC (Fortaleza) and Centro Israelita (Recife).
Shlomo, as he prefers to be called, was born in Rio de Janeiro, and his family made Aliyah when he was a child. As a teen, he returned to Brazil for a few years, living in Sao Paulo and in Rio, where his father was shaliach to Jewish day schools. Back to Israel, Shlomo grew up in the Dati-Leumi (National Religious) settlement of Alon-Shvut (in Gush Etzion, beyond the Green Line), but as an adult, changed his religious affiliation and graduated as a Reform rabbi from Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem, in 2019. With a MA in Pluralistic Jewish Education and a Sofer Stam certification (enabling him to write religious texts in parchment: Sifrei Torah, Tefillin, Mezuzot and Megillot), obtained in 2020, Shlomo works as a rabbi in Israel giving classes, doing ceremonies and consulting for the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ). Currently, he lives in Modi’in with his wife and three children.
The visit to Brasília included a special Kabbalat Shabbat, as well as a Shacharit Shabbat service, Havdallah and activities for youth and adults. Most worthy of mention are the Stam workshop, an “Ask the Rabbi” session and a roundtable on the current Israeli political situation.
In Fortaleza, the Sociedade Israelita do Ceará had the opportunity of holding the festive reading of the Megillat Esther, followed by a pasta dinner and a delicious serving of oznei haman. “We are so happy to have received rabbi Shlomo and to have celebrated Purim with the Megillah reading in both Portuguese and Hebrew”, said SIC president André Fleischman.
In Recife, the activities on Friday (10 March) included a Stam workshop with the fifth graders from the Moysés Chvarts Jewish School, and in the afternoon another Stam workshop with the Bar Mitzvah cohort and their parents, finishing the day with a beautiful Kabbalat Shabbat and Arvit in the Centro Israelita’s synagogue.
On Saturday (11), the community gathered for a Shacharit Shabbat in the historical Kahal Zur Israel synagogue – the oldest in the Southern Hemisphere and in the Americas and today a museum, though often still hosting community services. In the afternoon, the Zehut young adults group – which regularly meets to study Torah – received rabbi Shlomo in their Beit Midrash, sharing thoughts and conversations around a Seudat Shlishit and ending with a nice Havdallah.
The visits to the three congregations were accompanied by UJR Executive Director David Britva Beraha.