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icjw president visits brazil affiliate

VISIT TO BRAZIL – 8 AUGUST – 14 AUGUST

 
It was my honor AND my pleasure to travel to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil earlier in August to participate in a series of activities sponsored by the ICJW affiliate in Brazil, the Liga Feminina Israelita do Brasil. Liga has been an affiliate of ICJW since its founding in 1959.  For many years it was led by Esther Schwartz z’l until her death several years ago.  In recent years Liga has been led by Sra. Lea Lozinsky and by the current President, Sra. Berta Kac.
 
On 9 August Liga held its annual fund raising event, a beautiful luncheon at the Copacabana Palace Hotel attended by 175 women.  I was invited to speak at this gathering and it was an opportunity to describe ICJW’s work around the world. Guests at the luncheon included not only members of Liga, but also members and leaders of the many Jewish organizations in Rio.  I am hopeful that despite the language differences, those attending the luncheon left the gathering far more knowledgeable about ICJW and our work than they had been earlier!   As is the custom at this event, the luncheon concluded with a beautiful piano recital by Sr. Robert Fuchs, an internationally known pianist, a native son of Rio.
 
On subsequent days I attended a number of meetings, both with members of Liga and with leaders of other major Jewish women’s organizations.  I was especially delighted to be given a commemorative medal by the President of WIZO of Brazil, Sra. Helena Kelner, a medel which recognized WIZO’s 85th anniversary in that country.   This presentation was made at a special meeting of the presidents of the major organizations, held in the offices of Liga.
 
But perhaps my most unusual speaking opportunity was on Friday evening, 10 August.  Rabbi Dario Bialer, spiritual leader of Associacao Religiosa Israelita do Rio de Janeiro invited me to speak from the pulpit during the Friday evening Shabbat services.  The topic the rabbi suggested was somewhat daunting, however: “The Role of Jewish Women in a Pluralistic and Egalitarian Society”!   But with some research and a significant amount of good humor I did address the topic suggested to me and I was particularly proud to be representing ICJW in that setting. 
 
In speaking with Berta Kac, the President of Liga and with Lilian Bosboom,  a Vice-President of Liga who coordinated the Luncheon Event as well as the many activities of my week in Rio de Janeiro I learned that Liga is indeed a proud affiliate of ICJW,  They have had a difficult time with both membership and leadership during the past few years, but now have a plan to move forward with both courage and determination.  Liga Feminina Israelita do Brasil is 53 years “young” and with support and good fortune will surely celebrate many, many more “anniversaries”.  It was an extremely meaningful visit for me and I deeply appreciate the opportunity to represent ICJW in the wonderful city of Rio de Janeiro.