Reform-Conservative Rabbi Sergio Bergman will lead the ticket for the center-right Propuesta Republicana (PRO) Party in Argentina’s national elections.
The PRO Party confirmed the decision on Saturday hours before the deadline for parties to present candidates for the October vote.
Bergman, a member of the Buenos Aires municipal Legislature, will head the list for the National Lower House. He is the first rabbi to lead a national ticket in Argentina.
PRO has won 60 percent of the vote in the Buenos Aires municipal elections last June.
Buenos Aires city Mayor Mauricio Macri, who is running against President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of the Victory Front party, tapped Bergman to lead the party list.
Bergman, the senior rabbi of the traditional Congregacion Israelita Argentina, is the founder of Active Memory, a group that demonstrated every Monday for a decade seeking justice for the victims of the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center.
In July 2011, Bergman handily won his Municipal Legislature seat with 45 percent of the vote. Donning a colorful, broad-rimmed yarmulka, Bergman took his oath of office on the Torah instead of the Christian Bible. He said the election of a visibly Jewish candidate to a senior legislative position was especially significant because of Argentina’s past.
Before that election, Bergman told JTA that he became involved in politics because Argentinean society is “in a deep crisis of values,” adding, “I believe that Torah can also be taught in the Legislature.”
Last year, Rabbi Bergman, who has two rabbinical ordinations: one from the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly and another from the Reform movement’s Central Conference of American Rabbis, announced his resignation from the Rabbinical Assembly. Sergio Bergman made the announcement at the World Union of Progressive Judaism gathering in Buenos Aires last August.
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