BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — The oldest congregation in Argentina will mark its 150th year with a series of celebrations, including the launching of a rabbi’s book about Pope Francis.
The first minyan of the Congregación Israelita de la República Argentina met in 1862 on the occasion of the High Holidays. The foundation stone for its synagogue building was laid on Sept. 27, 1867.
The institution also known as Libertad temple, located on Libertad Street, is home to the Byzantine-style Jewish History Museum. The building, which includes the temple and the museum, was declared a National Historical Monument by Argentina’s government in 2000.
The main event of the anniversary celebration will be on Nov. 14, Rabbi Sergio Bergman will present his newly published book about Pope Francis. Bishop Victor Manuel Fernandez, dean of the Catholic University of Argentina, will lead the commemoration, which will include a program featuring Christian, Islamic and Jewish religious leaders.
Bergman, who was recently elected to the national parliament, in his book of religious essays titled “A Gospel According to Pope Francis,” praises Jorge Bergoglio, the former Argentine bishop who became pope earlier this year, as a religious leader, social worker and political statesman.
The synagogue is part Fundación Judaica, a network of Jewish institutions founded and led by Bergman, who is believed to be the only rabbi elected to a national parliament outside Israel.