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Marcus M. Gilban RSS

is JTA's correspondent in Rio de Janeiro. A freelance journalist and columnist, he contributes to Brazilian Jewish newspapers, magazines and news portals.

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  • Medieval bath may be earliest Jewish vestige in Brazil

    RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — Historians are investigating whether a 17th-century bath found in Brazil’s first capital city is the country’s oldest evidence of a Jewish presence. The bath was discovered 10 years ago inside an old hotel located in Pelourinho, the historic center area of Salvador, the capital of the northeastern Brazilian state of…

  • Brazilian Jewish day school raises $1.1 million in scholarship campaign blitz

    RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) – Brazil’s largest Jewish day school has raised $1.1 million in donations in a 34-hour campaign blitz to fund scholarships. Liessin exceeded its initial target by 65 percent with contributions from 1,087 donors on Tuesday and Wednesday. A growing number of the school’s 1,300 students have their $1,000 monthly school fee…

  • Far-right pro-Israel presidential candidate wins first round of Brazil’s elections

    RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — Jair Bolsonaro, an ardently pro-Israel candidate who is highly divisive among Jews for his racist and homophobic statements, won the first round of Brazil’s presidential election and remains the front-runner to lead the Latin American nation. Bolsonaro, a 63-year-old conservative Christian congressman, won 46 percent of the ballot on Sunday…

  • Brazilian skinheads convicted in 2005 assault on Jewish men wearing kippahs

    RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — Three neo-Nazis who attacked a group of Jews on a Brazilian street in 2005 were sentenced to prison in what is being called an unprecedented decision. Along with attempted aggravated murder, the charges also reflected the fact that one of the motivations for the crime was religious,  Folha de S. Paulo…

  • Stabbing of Brazil’s front-running presidential candidate sparks reports of a rivalry between Jewish and Arab hospitals

    RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — The front-runner in Brazil’s presidential race, who is openly pro-Israel, was stabbed and seriously injured during a street rally, and was transferred to a Jewish hospital after declining treatment at a facility founded by Arabs. Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right lawmaker who many refer to as “Brazil’s Trump,” was stabbed in the stomach…

  • Ancient Torah scroll is safe after fire engulfs an iconic museum in Brazil

    RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — An ancient Torah scroll once owned by a Brazilian emperor had been removed from Brazil’s National Museum for restoration prior to the massive fire that engulfed the building in Rio on Sunday. Unlike other irreplaceable treasures, the 13th-century Yemenite Torah scroll once owned by emperor Pedro II is safe at another…

  • Presidential front-runner in Brazil vows to move embassy to Jerusalem and close Palestinian embassy

    RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — The front-runner in Brazil’s presidential race said he will close the Palestinian embassy in Brasilia and move his country’s embassy to Jerusalem. “Is Palestine a country? Palestine is not a country, so there should be no embassy here,” Jair Bolsonaro, a lawmaker from the Social Liberal Party, said Tuesday when the…

  • Ecuador honors first Israeli woman to win the Nobel Prize

    RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — Ecuador’s National Congress honored an Israeli Nobel laureate. Ada Yonath, who won the 2009 prize for chemistry, received a medal of scientific merit from the National Assembly’s president, Elizabeth Cabezas, at a ceremony Thursday in Quito, newspaper El Telegrafo reported. “The National Assembly of Ecuador highlights the role of an Israeli…

  • An elite private academy in Rio is putting pressure on the city’s Jewish day schools

    RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) – One of the hottest topics among Rio Jewish families today sits right across the street from both the city’s largest synagogue and the site of a future Holocaust memorial. It’s a non-Jewish day school, directed by a Cohen with the support of a Levy, that is becoming a magnet to Jewish…

  • Israeli honeymooner killed, wife injured in zip-line accident in Honduras

    RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) – A newly wed Israeli man was killed and his wife seriously injured in a zip-line accident during their honeymoon in Honduras. Egael Tishman, 24, and Shif Fanken, 27, were on a zip line over a treetop canopy near Roatan on the island of Bahia when they crashed into each other…