B’nai B’rith Latin America sponsored 500 leaders and professional staff from the Jewish communities of Latin America and the Caribbean Nov. 6-11 in Quito, Ecuador. This was the 12th gathering of the Joint Distribution Committee Latin America (JDCLA) group since it was formed in 1990.
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:
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.
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.
B´nai B´rith leaders sharing the Shabbat dinner table.
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.
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