Kulanu Welcomes New Communities in Brazil

October 7, 2014

The past few months have been packed with exciting encounters. The video below shows a happy outcome to one such encounter, which began with a Facebook message to Kulanu from a member of an Anousim community in Brazil and then evolved into a budding relationship – and the joyous singing you’ll hear in this recording.

Check out this lively video from the Jewish community of Shil do Tatuape in Sao Paolo, Brazil:

Entrega dos Novos Sidurim Shil do Tatuape
Video on YouTube:
Entrega dos Novos Sidurim Shil do Tatuape

 

A new Kulanu community, we provided the funds for Shil do Tatuape to purchase 33 new Portuguese/Hebrew siddurim! The video shows the community’s gratitude for this gift, which was possible thanks to the generosity of the Good People Fund (www.goodpeoplefund.org). Thank you also to Kulanu Board member Daneel Schaechter for coordinating this effort - part of a bigger, Good People Fund-supported mini-grant program that provided support to four Latin American communities.

In Sao Paulo there are about 70 synagogues, but according to the leaders of this group, none of them are open to b’nei anousim, the “hidden” Jews of Spanish and Portuguese descent who were forced into hiding or conversion during the Spanish Inquisition. The Shil do Tatuape community, which numbers about 25 people, is comprised of approximately 70% b’nei anousim; the rest came to have an interest in Judaism on their own.

The Shil do Tatuape community gathers together in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Photo courtesy Daneel Schaechter, 2014.

Though the members have no Torah scroll, they hold study groups and started meeting for Shabbat evening once every two weeks, and for Saturday afternoon Mincha, text-study and Havdalah, about a year ago. The donated prayer books will help them in their studies and practice.

Shil do Tatuape welcomes visitors to their community – contact Kulanu if you’re planning a trip! And be sure to check out the community’s page on Facebook (click here).

Another “new” Jewish community in Brazil is located in Goiania; this one is four years old and on the path to undergoing conversion. They have appealed to Kulanu for funds to help defray the cost of building a mikvah or inviting a beit din to Goiania. Please visit kulanu.org/anousim for more about Anousim communities in Brazil and around the world.

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