Exploring Jewish Life in Latin America

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Jewish Clevelanders explore Jewish life in Latin America

Article reprinted with permission from the Cleveland Jewish News.

(From left) Clevelanders Fran and Mark Doris, Suellen and Larry Kadis, President of ORT America, Marti and Jeff Davis, Shari and Michael Perlmuter, and Ellen and Dan Zelman with students at the ORT School in Argentina.

A group of Jewish Clevelanders traveled to Argentina, home to the largest Jewish population in Latin America, on a Jewish Federations of North America mission. On their trip, they visited thriving Jewish communities, toured historic sites and engaged with the leaders charting a bright course for Argentina’s future.

Jewish Federation of Cleveland international partner agencies, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the Jewish Agency for Israel and ORT, are working with the people of Argentina to help sustain Jewish life.

"As Jews, we focus our thoughts on Israel and do not think about the diaspora. Each year we are asked to support our Federation, giving little thought to the full impact of our giving. In Argentina, we visited a nursing home where a singer entertained residents with Purim songs and a 103-year old woman thanked us for the assistance we provide them, which was a common theme throughout the entire mission.

We were greeted like the victorious Cleveland Cavaliers at the ORT school, which was extremely moving, as was attending the memorial for the 25th anniversary of the embassy bombing, complete with rooftop snipers and high security.

One of the highlights was attending Kabbalat Shabbat service at Templo Libertad in Recoleta. The next evening we were arranged in small groups to hear five-minute stories of young Jewish people who had spent time in Israel learning about different occupations and their enthusiasm and optimism for the future. It was a moving and learning experience."

Dan Zelman is a Moreland Hills resident.

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