Ecuador has a tiny and very active Jewish community. Although it was a challenge for a community of 450 Jews to host an audience of 500 leaders from 22 countries, the program was very successful. It included almost 40 workshops, six plenary sessions, countless breakouts to share experiences and more. Additionally, 20 percent of those in attendance were young professionals in their mid-20´s.
The most important and decisive issues of Jewish life today were on the agenda.
B'nai B'rith leaders chaired workshops, oversaw various sessions and lectured. Among the large B'nai B'rith delegation were:
- B'nai B'rith International Senior Vice President Leon Birbragher;
- Former B'nai B'rith International Senior Vice President Roberto Nul;
- District 23 President Marcelo Burman;
- President of the Jewish community in Paraguay Jack Fleischman, who serves as a mentor to the region;
- President of the Chilean Jewish community Hernan Fischman, who serves as a mentor to the region;
- Estrella Fleischman, B'nai B'rith Paraguay;
- Silvia Lustgarten, Human Rights Office director in Cali, Colombia;
- Angel Calderon, honorary executive vice president, District 23;
- Rebecca Luft, Chile, Label Katz Award winner;
- Eduardo Kohn, B'nai B'rith International director of Latin American Affairs.
Education, youth, continuity, religion, anti-Semitism, Israel-Diaspora relations, the Israeli economy, social and political issues, interfaith programs, how to use technology for the betterment of education, how to face technology when it is used for hatred, bigotry and anti-Semitism, and more were explained and discussed.
Considerable learning and teaching took place. The interactions were intense, productive and provided a unique experience to learn in less than a week what is taking place inside the Jewish communities of Latin America, and moreover, what is happening inside the partner organizations, like B'nai B'rith. The partner organizations discussed how they are working to face the challenges in the near-term and into the future.
- Roberto Nul lectured about leadership and how leadership can move the community forward;
- Leon Birbragher chaired the discussion on how to deal with natural disasters;
- Marcelo Burman chaired the discussion on the need of editing books on key issues like Shoah and how to deliver;
- Hernán Fischman chaired a session on how communities are organized to face political contexts and was one of the keynote speakers of the closing plenary on which are the main challenges we have to face in the immediate future;
- Rebecca Luft, Label Katz Award, Chile, lectured in a workshop about education;
- Jack Fleischman chaired a session on education;
- Eduardo Kohn was the chair and coordinator of the workshop (workshops were two hours of debate) dealing with the way we must face hatred on social networks (e.g. Facebook, Twitter and on the Internet);
- Leon Birbragher was distinguished by JOINT: he has attended and worked in each one of the 12 meetings of the LA Jewish leaders and chaired the 11th in Cartagena, Colombia three years ago.
The last plenary, which included Fischman as one of the three panelists, featured interactive voting and participation of the 500 attendees on the community's most crucial challenges and threats: the future of the organizations, the need of education, and the need of continuity. No threat can be properly faced if we do not have strong organizations and real continuity through inclusive education.
JDCLA, with the support of B'nai B'rith and other organizations, has hosted in the last 22 years the most important gathering of Jewish leaders and members of organizations from all over Latin America. The event is a unique way to teach, learn, and open minds.
Sitting from left to right: former B'nai B'rith International Senior Vice President Roberto Nul; B'nai B'rith Chile mentor and President of the Jewish Community in Chile Hernan Fischman; B'nai B'rith Paraguay mentor and President of the Jewish Community of Paraguay Jack Fleischman; B'nai B'rith Senior Vice President Leon Birbragher; Silvia Lustgarten, Human Rights Office Director in Cali, Colombia.
Standing up from left to right: President B'nai B'rith District 23 Marcelo Burman; Estrella Fleischman, B'nai B'rith Paraguay; Eduardo Kohn, B'nai B'rith.