Brazil

Kulanu Brazil
Yad Eliyahu Community of Goiania, Goiás, celebrates havdalah, 2015

Over the last 10 years, hundreds of Brazilians have fallen in love with Judaism and created vibrant communities living in parallel to the mainstream Jewish community in Brazil. These emerging communities are found in cities such as Goiania, Brasilia, Fortaleza, Natal, Recife, São Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro. Often times, the founding families are descendants of marranos, based on various family stories and Sephardic traditions. Unfortunately, the mainstream Jewish communities in Brazil have generally been slow to work with these emerging groups, and they have found it difficult to officially convert and become participants of existing communities, hence their own communities. In recent years, this has slowly began to change as Kulanu and many individuals have helped to network them with local Jewish organizations and proved how important they are to the future of Brazilian Jewry. One example of such a community is the Yad Eliyahui Community in Brasilia. In the 2010’s, they purchased a plot of land and converted it to a “kibbutz” with a synagogue, garden, 3-4 families living within, and a guest room. A majority of the community consists of former evangelicals or messianic “Jews for Jesus” that decided that they wanted to practice traditional Judaism. Over the last few years, they have strived more towards egalitarian ideals to flourish as a bourgeoning spiritual community in which women have participated more in services and that shares large Shabbat dinners together after Friday night services. For those who try not to travel on Shabbat, there are extra mattresses and they are welcome to stay over on the synagogue grounds. In the summer of 2017, both the Goiania and Brasilia community welcomed a Kulanu Global Teaching Fellow, rabbinic student Natan Freller of Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies for 6 weeks of Torah study.

Useful Resources:

Articles and Links

Emerging Brazilian Communities

Jews by Choice & Marranos

Goias, Brasilia, Rio Grande do Norte, Ceará, Brazil

200 adults and children

Official language: Portuguese

Contact Regional Coordinator

US State Dept Info

CDC Traveler’s Health Info

CIA World Factbook