Two new Jewish communities in Brazil have become members of the Kulanu family. Both congregations are composed largely of Bnei Anousim (descendents of the hidden Jews of Spain and Portugal who were forced into hiding or conversion during the Spanish Inquisition). Kulanu’s efforts in South and Central America are spearheaded by Kulanu Board member Daneel Schaechter, recently awarded a Fullbright Scholarship for a year of work/study in Brazil.
With thanks to the generosity of the Good People Fund (www.goodpeoplefund), Kulanu has launched a mini-grant program to provide support to emerging Latin American Jewish communities. As part of this grant, Kulanu was able to purchase 33 new Portuguese/Hebrew siddurim (prayer books) for the Sinagoga Bnei Avraham in Shil do Tatuape, Brazil.
According to members of this congregation, there are approximately 70 synagogues in Sao Paulo, Brazil, but there is little or no acceptance of Bnei Anousim, The Shil do Tatuape community, which numbers about 34 people, is comprised of approximately 70% Bnei Anousim; the rest have joined the group because of their interest in Judaism. JAM