BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — The Reform movement is launching its first school to train and ordain rabbis from Latin America, Spain and Portugal to work in those communities.
The Ibero American Institute for Rabbinical Education of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, or WUPJ, will begin classes in August in Buenos Aires.
“This project will transform the regional reality,” WUPJ said.
Some 20 rabbinical candidates from Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Spain have enrolled. A Hispanic student from the United States also has enrolled.
The institute will be run jointly by the Latin American branch of WUPJ; the Argentine network of institutions Fundación Judaica, and the Center of Jewish Spirituality Mishkan, which will be the headquarters of the institution. Ruben Nisenbom, the Argentine founder of Mishkan, will be in charge of the institute.
WUPJ President Carole Sterling has called the institute “an important step for the Reform world.”
“We know that it will be fundamental for the development of our movement in the region and will permit us to answer the growing demand on behalf of our communities,” she said last month when the institute was officially presented by Ibero-American leaders to the Reform movement during the WUPJ Conference in Jerusalem.
Rabbi Gilad Kariv, executive director of the Reform movement in Israel and a member of the Rabbis for Human Rights movement, called the new institution “one of the great milestones of Judaism in the last decade.”
Ibero-America is a region in Central and South America made up of Spanish and Portuguese speakers that also includes Spain and Portugal.