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Brazil’s first female rabbi took up her post at Rio de Janeiro’s largest synagogue. During last Friday’s Shabbat-evening services, Paraguayan-born Sandra Kochmann, 31, a Conservative rabbi, joined Reform Rabbi Sergio Margulies at the helm of the 1,000-family Associacao Religiosa Isrealita, in Rio de Janeiro. Some 900 people attended the ceremony at the synagogue, which was founded by German immigrants in 1943. In a mixture of Spanish and Portuguese, Kochmann delivered her inaugural address while wearing a Moroccan-style yarmulke and tallit. “We need to prepare people for what is new,” she said, calling her appointment a personal challenge and a challenge for Brazilian Jewry.

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