12th Ecuentro of Jewish Organizations and Leaders of Latin America and the Caribbean

I have recently gotten back from Quito, Ecuador where I attended the 12th Encuentro of Jewish Organizations and Leaders in the region. 

I found this GA to be incredibly interesting and a very unique experience. I not only was able to sit in on many interesting political speaches, presentations on the importance of new IT innovations, as well as fundraising technologies, but I was also able to get a better idea of what it is like to be a Jew in the region.

Buenos Aires is lucky to have such a big Jewish populations.  Although they may not always agree they do not have to worry as much about other things that I saw presentations on, such as hate crimes and a quickly diminishing population.  Columbia and Venezuela both have issues with the former, and counties such as Bolivia and Ecuador have problems particularly with the later. The hot issue on peoples minds were however a diminishing populations, mostly from immigration and intermarraige.  Stemming from this was questions on how to better accommodate different types of Jews into the community as a whole.  This is something that I can relate to.  I am not observant, and although I do celebrate the high holy days with my family and culturally view myself as Jewish, I have had some issue finding my place around those more obvservant than I.

Particularly intersting was hearing from JDC employees working in Cuba.  I had never really heard about life there first hand, and it was both unreal and amazing to hear about their experiences.  It is important and very smart that the team working there allows the Jewish community to develop in its own way, as it has done in other countries. It is a funny thing to have overlooked but I found it so odd but again made sense, that everyone gets paid $25 be their profession a doctor or taxi driver.  

The evironment as 500 Jews in the area was not as tense as I imagine it would be in other countries. Again something that I really admire about Latin America. There is anti-semitism of course but it seems to be a lot less than in other parts of the world.  There was minimal security for us, but of course it is unfortunate that there had to be any at all.

Towards the end of the conference I have to say my head was swimming, but the last night was one of the most memorable of my life.  We were invited to the JCC in Quito for dinner, and the experience was incredible!  The JCC is magnificent, and the decor and food were really fantastic as well.  Througout the conference I had sort of felt as though we were one community, but it wasn't until everyone, young and old started dancing together, that a wave of happiness and oneness came over me.  Dancing everything from Gangnam Style to the Hora and Salsa, I once again had the feeling of how special it was to be Jewish, and how wonderful it really was that no matter if I am in NYC or in Quito, I am really still part of a global Jewish community, who will always have a beautiful strong bond with each other, and care deeply for each others well being. 

bg page