Indian Jews in Mexico Dedicate Community Center; Built by U.S. Youths

The tiny community of Indian Jews in the village of Venta Prieta, 60 miles from this capital, dedicated its brand new community center yesterday, a lovely building emblazoned with the Star of David, erected for them during the last six weeks by 18 Jewish students from the United States. The North Americans are members of the Mitzvah Corps, a volunteer group representing the National Federation of Temple Youth, the junior branch of the Reform movement’s Union of American Hebrew Congregations.

The Mitzvah Corps, composed of nine boys and nine girls, aged 15 to 18, built and contributed the community center to the Indian Jews and, at the same time, painted the small community’s Negev Synagogue and taught Hebrew and English to most of the 120 Jews in Venta Prieta. The ceremonies dedicating the center turned into an emotional scene as the Venta Prieta Jews wept with joy over having their own community center.

Meanwhile, it was announced here today that, due to the intervention of the United States Embassy, Mexican authorities have released Rabbi Leo Abrami, who was taken into custody last Saturday for preaching in the Venta Prieta synagogue. He had been charged with “working” although he held only a tourist visa. Rabbi Abrami is one of the adult advisors of the Mitzvah Corps which had joined the local Jews in Venta Prieta at Sabbath services every Saturday.

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