In February, there were 10 intense days of activities, with hands-on classes on the streets of Israel. The 18 participants, representing 13 different countries (Brazil, Australia, Zimbabwe, Belgium, Spain, the United States, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Canada, England and Germany) also had intense debates about topics proposed by the Beutel Seminar for Jewish Reform Leadership’ staff: Rabbi Steve Burnstein and by Professor Paul Liptz. Teachers and guest activists wovened the patchwork vision: the challenges and opportunities that exist in the land of Israel today considering its millennial history.
The streets of Jerusalem were explored by the uneasy steps of participants who also learned about new outcomes, acts of resistance and dialogue in the human rights and advocacy arena led by the IRAC (Israel Religious Action Center) under the direction of Rabbi Noa Sattah. The Jewish People’s Museum; the dialogue led by Rabbi Meir Azaru at Beit Daniel in Tel Aviv; the welcoming class at Sally Katz’s home about ethical and ethnic dilemmas, and meetings with Rabbi Michael Marmur and several leaders of our movement and representatives of the Association Reform Zionist of America (ARZA) were incredible. The conversation with young Bedouins and Jews on their gap-year program of the Jewish-Arab Hagar School in Beer Sheva restored faith in the possibilities of empathic coexistence between the two peoples. The three nights at Kibbutz Lotan made all participants imbued with a deep sense of belonging.
“They were days full of significance! All involved, speakers, guides, teachers, and participants were committed and give their best with great enthusiasm! In my life it was a turning point to meet the WUPJ. Now the time has come for me give back!”
Sandra Strauss, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
“The Beutel Leadership was really amazing. Rabbi Steve Burnstein is the living example of ethical and egalitarian Judaism. Professor Paul Liptz was also sensational! All the programming activities were a sum of knowledge… I felt like I was in a movie with a lot of stories to be told! And the protagonists? Surprise! I felt part of that same tribe! I am grateful to WUPJ for the opportunity to learn so much and I have realized I have so much more to learn.”
Jacqueline Moreno, Salvador, Bahia
“I was impressed by the unconventional proposal of the Beutel Seminary to train leaders. The program is based on the acquisition of knowledge in an experiential way and invests in the formation of networks. I was struck by the emphasis on spirituality, emphasizing what community leaders need to have and do, as well as good tools to influence people to pursuit collective goals. Also the sensitivity to connect us as a community and as a people. Gratitude for the opportunity.”
This article first appeared in the English-language newsletter of the World Union for Progressive Judaism – Latin America. To learn more about our international activities in South America, please visit their website and subscribe to receive their updates.