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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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  • Brazilian Jewish day school raises $750,000 in 30-hour campaign blitz

    RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) – A Brazilian Jewish school has raised some $750,000 in donations in a 30-hour campaign blitz to fund scholarships. TTH-Barilan, Rio’s only Orthodox Jewish school, exceeded its initial target by 40 percent with contributions from over 800 donors between Tuesday and Wednesday. One-third of the school’s 400 students have their $1,000 monthly school fee wholly…

  • Rio drug raid yields deadly arsenal — and a Jewish holy book

    RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — A Jewish ritual object that initially was believed to be a Torah scroll was seized from criminals during a police raid of a Rio slum. Jewish representatives were called Monday to identify the object, which was determined to be a sefer haftarah, or readings from the books of the prophets…

  • Legendary Brazilian musician cancels concert in Israel over ‘sensitive moment’

    RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — One of Brazil’s most acclaimed musicians has called off an upcoming show in Israel due to “apprehension” over the current tensions. Singer-songwriter Gilberto Gil, a multiple Grammy and Latin Grammy Award winner, announced Tuesday he had canceled a performance scheduled for July 4 in Ra’anana, home to the largest concentration of Brazilian immigrants in…

  • Brazilian synagogue damaged in arson attack

    RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — Vandals set fire to a synagogue in southern Brazil after painting threats to the Jewish community on its walls. Flammable fuel was dumped under the main entrance door of the Israelite Society of Pelotas building on Thursday, and set alight causing minor damage. The criminals also wrote pro-Palestinian messages on…

  • Brazil’s Christ Redeemer statue illuminated in blue and white for Israel’s 70th anniversary

    (JTA) — National landmarks in Brazil and Poland were illuminated in blue and white to celebrate Israel’s 70th anniversary. The Christ Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, which is managed by the Catholic Church, glowed in white and blue on Monday. Commenting on the Rio tribute, Israel’s honorary consul there, Osias Wurman, told JTA: “It…

  • This Brazilian reality TV show couldn’t get a rabbi to officiate an interfaith wedding

    RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — The Brazilian reality TV show “Wedding Factory” gives 15 couples seven days to prepare for their dream wedding. The show, now in its second season, also gives each pair around $300,000 to spend on the happy occasion. An episode of the show that aired Saturday got dramatic, and not because…

  • Brazilian soccer legend Ronaldinho opens academy in Israel

    RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — The Brazilian soccer idol Ronaldinho has launched a soccer school in Israel aimed at both native-born and immigrant children and youths. Ronaldinho, who spent last week in the Jewish state, announced Thursday the establishment of the Ronaldinho Soccer Academy for children aged 6 to 16. The goal is to combine the passion…

  • Brazilian governor apologizes for welcoming Hezbollah official

    RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — The governor of Brazil’s Sao Paulo state apologized to the Jewish community for welcoming a Muslim clergyman accused of having ties with Hezbollah. Gov. Marcio Franca welcomed Sheikh Bilal Mohsen Wehbe as part of a Lebanese delegation visiting the state government headquarters on April 17. On Saturday, Veja magazine’s online…

  • Message for Holocaust Remembrance Day projected on Brazil’s National Congress buildings

    RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — The words “Holocaust Never Again” in Portuguese were projected on Brazil’s iconic National Congress buildings to mark Yom Hashoah, or Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day. The green block letters covered the 300-foot tall facade of both twin towers of the Congress, Brasilia’s most famous landmark, on Wednesday night for for four…

  • Brazilian rabbi apologizes for publicly supporting ex-president jailed for corruption

    RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — A Brazilian rabbi who supported an iconic ex-president convicted of corruption has apologized after being slammed for acting as if he represented the Jewish community. Rabbi Alexandre Leone has been under fire since the release of videos and photos of him protesting on a sound truck in favor of Luis…