BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — Rabbi Sergio Bergman, the newly appointed minister for the environment in Argentina, pledged to serve his nation while placing his hand on a copy of the Hebrew Bible.
At the ceremony Thursday, Bergman also said in his oath that he “promised” to serve his country rather than the typical “I swear,” in keeping with the Jewish tradition to avoid swearing in recognition of God’s ultimate control over man’s actions and circumstances.
After administering the oath, President Mauricio Macri hugged Bergman, who is thought to be the only rabbi serving as a Cabinet minister outside of Israel.
The other ministers used a Christian Bible to take their oaths.
Bergman’s nomination last week drew praise not only from the Jewish community of Argentina, but also neighboring Brazil. CONIB, the umbrella group of Brazilian Jewry, published a statement last week that said, “We are confident that you will be able to apply the Jewish values that characterize your performance, inside and outside the community.”