Informational Newsletter

  1. Words from the Executive Director—Rabbi Mauricio Balter
  2. The new phase of Masorti AmLat
  3. The general agreements from Hitjadshut I in Santiago, Chile.

Shinun o Shinui

We live in a world marked by a rapid pace at which things change and the challenges that we confront in integrating our new realities while preserving our identity at the same time. In this complex task we know full well the resistance that is generated by the forces of transformation.

At Masorti Olami we advocate revising and renewing ourselves as an organization while preserving the ideology that sustains the sense of our movement’s existence.

Many years have passed since we have made our last push for organizational renewal. We are inspired by those who created opportunities for the movement in their day and we want to invite you to accompany us in this new state of growth of Masorti AmLat. Since our foundation as a movement, we have matured and grown and today more than ever, as those who drive the destiny of the Masorti movement, it is our responsibility to rethink the ways in which we work.

This process of change is complex in its own right. Much has been said about the fear of change. In Hebrew the word “Shinun” stems from the word “Leshanen” which means to repeat something that we want to learn over and over again. The word “Shinui” means a change that takes us from what we were before to something new.

I invite you to see how they are written in Hebrew.

שינון                                         שינוי

This tiny different in the length of the last letter is not so simple in real life. We must do more than merely lengthening a letter in order to bring about effective change. I invite you to be partners in the Hitjadshut, the renovation of Masorti AmLat. We are guided through this process by Dr. Daniel Yoffe along with help of our transitional committee so that in our second meeting in Lima, Peru this August we can finalize the planned changes.

I hope to see you personally and share with you this special moment in the life of the Latin American Masorti Movement.

Shalom ulehitraot,

Rabbi Mauricio Balter

 


  1. Transitional Committee Report on Hitjadshut I to Hitjadshut II

 

Masorti Olami is the World Council of Masorti Synagogues. Masorti AmLat is Latin America’s regional representative body. It is a space where we can build bridges between the affiliated organizations in the entire region. We participate with the goal of developing projects which will allow us to grow, and the commitment to a Masorti Judaism, its practices and in its everlasting connection to the State of Israel.

 

In the hope of REinstating, REnovating and REorganizing Masorti AmLat, we set up a first meeting in Chile called Hitjadshut I which took place from November 23-27, 2017.

 

  1. Who does it comprise and what are its functions?

 

With the agreement of the attendees, a transitional committee was set up with the task of taking the main agreements of Hitjadshut I and developing the preliminary agenda/plan of the project for the coming years under the umbrella of “Masorti AmLat 2020”.

 

The transitional committee is comprised of:

 

Rabbi Mauricio Balter (Masorti Olami, Israel), Ariela Rosemberg-Garbatzky (Masorti Olami, Israel), Dr. Daniel Yoffe (Organizational Consultant), Rabbi Marcelo Rittner (Masorti AmLat, Mexico), Mirko Lebl (Masorti AmLat, Brazil), Rabbi Sarina Vitas (Lara, Argentina), Moises Szewkis (Masorti AmLat, Chile), Rabbi Alejandro Bloch (Masorti Olami, Chile), Magali Desse (NOAM AmLat, Argentina), Jorge Banchik (Salta, Argentina).

 

  1. Meeting in Buenos Aires, March 2018

This committee worked as a virtual team and met this year for a face-to-face meeting on March 18-19 at the Seminario Rabinico in Buenos Aires.

The work agenda examined the following topics regarding Masorti AmLat:

  1. Organization in the region, b) Legal structure, c) Assembling a board of directors for Masorti AmLat, d) Professional Structure, e) Strengthening the area of ideology and f) Work program for Hitjadshut II.
  2. Advances in “Plan 2020”—Transitional Committee
  3. Organization across the regions.

With the understanding that Latin America is a vast and diverse region in terms of the cultures that comprise it, the convenience of establishing sub regions was evaluated. By splitting the massive region into more manageable portions, this will allow us to work in a more stable, active and executive way. This model presumes that the integration of the region is a complex construction and permits decentralization of the forces, placing a strong focus on the particular needs of the regions, with the ultimate vision of the unity of the movement.

The four sub regions are:

  1. Central America: Organized by Mexico (Mexico City) and including Costa Rica, Panama, Cuba, Guatemala, El Salvador, Orajenstad (Aruba) and the smaller communities of Mexico.
  2. Pacific: Organized by the Santiago, Chile and including Peru, Colombia, and Bolivia.
  3. Atlantic: Co-organized by Montevideo, Uruguay and Sao Paulo, Brazil and includes Paraguay and the communities of Rio de Janeiro, Curitiba, Porto Alegre and Bahia in Brazil.
  4. South: This sub region corresponds to the 40 communities in Argentina

 

  1. Creation of the legal entity of Masorti AmLat in Chile

 

Masorti AmLat will be established as a non-profit in the Republic of Chile in accordance with its legislation. This association will permit the administration of funds for the entire region and can be the legal framework in which the Board of Directors of Masorti AmLat functions.

 

Special thanks to Moises Szewkis, a member of the transitional committee who was responsible for this area, and through whose efforts we made significant advances in the idea of creation of a Masorti Olami representative office in Chile.

 

This office will have the legally required by-laws and financial aspects to allow it to function in accordance with the mission and vision of the movement. During these months they will be working on the formation of a legal entity for Masorti AmLat.

 

All formal aspects linked to the affiliation will be the responsibility of the next Board of Directors.

 

  1. Board of Directors Masorti AmLat—The Next Steps

 

Masorti Europe served as the model on which we designed the Board of Directors and its internal structure.

 

We are currently considering two categories of partcipants for the board of Masorti AmLat Board: There will be nine members who represent the affiliated communities throughout the 4 regions, each of whom will have the right to vote and a voice. Each sub region will nominate two representatives to the board. No individual who receives a salary or honorarium from Masorti AmLat can be a member of the board.

 

On the other hand, we considered the representation of three members or their substitutes who have a voice but no vote, or “ex oficio” members: the Executive Director of Masorti Olami, the President of the Rabbinical Assembly, and the Director of Masorti AmLat, once the position exists.

 

This board will meet a minimum of four times per year and the positions in it will be: a President, selected in addition to the regional representatives who will constitute the ninth member of the board. As eligibility criteria, a person eligible for this task must be a leader who represents Masorti AmLat and that understands the historical challenge that confronts the Masorti Movement in Latin American in the coming years. The president will be selected during the first session of the Masorti AmLat board in Lima and must be approved by Masorti Olami. He or the treasurer and secretary will be elected in the first session of the board.

 

The Executive Committee will answer to the president, assisted by the treasurer and the secretary. This Executive Committee will be a charge of the ordinary management of the organization, preparing the agendas for the board meetings, etc. It will include members ex oficio: the Executive Director of Masorti Olami or his substitute and the Director of Masorti AmLat.

 

All the committee members can be elected for a maximum of two consecutive periods. Each period has a duration of 3 years lasting from August 1st, 2018 to July 31, 2020.

 

  1. Direction of Community development.

The transitional committee evaluated the complexity of finding the professional services required for the function of the Executive Direction in the short term. This was combined with the budgetary restrictions for the 2018 period. It was considered to evaluate the possibility of having one professional who supports the regions in prioritized programs already defined. The position is defined as Director of Community Development.

 

  1. Hitjadshut II—See you in Lima

Hitjadshut II—The second meeting of Masorti Kehilot in Latin America will include community presidents, rabbis and youth among the participants in its upcoming meeting in Lima, Peru on August 3-6.

The meeting will address sessions regarding Masorti ideology and its boundaries, halacha, conversions, kashrut and tefillah. Another important component of the program, under the charge of Dr. Daniel Yoffe, will be the revision of “Plan 2020—Masorti AmLat” where the strategy will be presented and at the same time we will have the opportunity to work and reflect about the strategic leadership in the region and the challenges we face.