Argentinian rabbi sworn into National Parliament

BUENOS AIRES (JTA) — Rabbi Sergio Bergman was sworn in to Argentina’s National Parliament.

Bergman, the first rabbi to take office as a national legislator in Argentina, wore a colorful yarmulke and swore the oath of office on a Jewish Bible Wednesday before “God, the motherland and the sacred scriptures of the Bible, the Tanach.”

Argentina’s 127 newly elected legislators were sworn in Wednesday at the opening ceremony of the Lower House of the National Parliament.

The parliamentary rabbi, whose PRO Party won 34.5 percent of the vote in elections in late October, is believed to be the only rabbi elected to a national parliament outside of Israel.

Bergman is also the senior rabbi of Argentina’s oldest congregation, Congregacion Israelita Argentina, which marked its 150th year last month with a series of celebrations, including the launching of the rabbi’s book about Pope Francis. Bergman’s book of religious essays, “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.

Bergman, 51, is the author of five books and is recognized internationally. He founded a network of Jewish schools and educational projects that includes a gay alliance and a rural farm. In May, he received the Micah Award from the World Union for Progressive Judaism for his commitment to social justice at the organization’s convention in Jerusalem.

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