NEW YORK (May. 14)
“Brazil is a country nearly without any prejudice — religious or racial,” the Chief Rabbi of Rio de Janeiro said here this weekend. Furthermore, he predicted that the Brazilian Supreme Court would “deal fairly” with Franz Stangl, the accused Nazi war criminal now in prison there, whose extradition has been requested by Austria, West Germany and Poland.
Dr. Henrique Lemle, head of the Asociacao Religiosa Israelita, and a prominent leader of the Brazilian Jewish community, addressed a reception in his honor at the American Jewish Committee’s Institute of Human Relations headquarters in New York. Richard Maass, AJC foreign affairs committee chairman, was host to the event, which was also attended by Gregorio Shapiro, president of the Comite Central Israelita of Mexico City.
Dr. Lemle, who was ordained at the Jewish Seminary of Berlin and is a survivor of Buchenwald, is co-founder of the Christian-Jewish Brotherhood of Brazil, Jewish chaplain to the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides of Brazil, and professor of Hebrew Civilization at the University of Brazil. In addition to his own congregation,he serves six others in the interior and northern states, where there are no rabbis. Instead of a horse, the “circuit-riding” rabbi travels by jet to the outlying areas two to three hours from Rio de Janeiro.
“This is the hour of transition, not only for Brazilian Jewry but for all Jews,” Dr. Lemle said. “It is a transition of generations from the immigrant to the native-born; a transition in belief and in identity; and a transition in the relations between Jews and Christians. The chance for ecumenical dialogue is finally here.”
Mr. Shapiro gave a brief sketch of the background and life of the Mexican Jewish community. “The Government,” he said, “is friendly to all people — and to Israel. While the great majority of Jewish children attend Jewish schools, the Jewish community has liberally supported education of all children and has built two schools which provide for 2,500 non-Jewish Mexican children.”