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December 20, 2014 / 28 Kislev, 5775
 
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Seeking Our Brethren In A Land Far From Home


We were honored with aliyot to the Torah on Shabbat in the Sephardic shul in which we davened. During the service, we could not help but reflect that “am yisrael chad hu,” and that wherever we may be, in whatever environment and in whatever corner of the world we may find ourselves, das pintele Yid always rises to the surface. It bonds us with our fellow Jews and envelops us with its warmth.

On Friday evening we davened in a shul where an entire section of the sanctuary was occupied by boys between the ages of six and nine. They joined in the service with true devotion, following along as best they could the prayers of their older friends. Their sweet voices filled the synagogue and gave us a moving spiritual and emotional experience.

The trip was highlighted by the meetings we had with Rabbi Avraham Serruya, spiritual leader of the Sukkat David congregation and yeshiva; Rabbi Yitzchak Sacca, who has two large synagogues, a kollel and a university outreach program; Rabbi Daniel Oppenheimer, the chief Ashkenazi rabbi who runs a beautiful school, yeshiva, kollel, various outreach programs, and is also responsible for overseeing the majority of kosher food in Argentina; and Rabbi Yosef Chehebar, the Sephardic chief rabbi.

Notwithstanding the relative brevity of our trip, we were able to make a couple of substantial observations. First, the Orthodox community of Buenos Aires is, on the whole, a wholesome and vibrant one. Second, NCSY serves as a major force in helping preserve Jewish tradition and values among the teenage and young adult population.

We know the Orthodox Union will do everything possible to expand NCSY and bring it to as many communities as possible, in both North and South America. We look forward to encouraging this vital effort.

About the Author: Susan Alter Klaperman is a former New York City councilwoman. Her husband, Rabbi Dr. Gilbert Klaperman, is a former president of the Rabbinical Council of America and rabbi emeritus of Congregation Beth Sholom in Lawrence, New York.


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“Et achai anochi mevakeish” (“I seek my brethren”) was the theme of our whirlwind four-day visit to Buenos Aires in June. There are about 250,000 Jews in that country — one of the largest Jewish communities after the United States and Israel — almost all of them concentrated in Buenos Aires.

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