As an International Region, coordinating events and meetings among different time zones can be a problem. We have found that Universal Time (Greenwich Mean Time) can help end some of the confusion.
And by International Region we're not talking about the upper reaches of Canada, or the 'frozen chosen' of Alaska (where we have yet to have an affilitated club or a Conservative synagogue).
We're talking about clubs outside of the United States and Canada. So check back frequently and watch our numbers and scope, throughout the world, grow. Growing an international region isn't easy. There is both the language barrier and the cultural barrier.
But the FJMC has a 'secret weapon.'
Michael Abadi, an FJMC unsung hero has served as the Masorti Olami (World Council of Synagogues) and the FJMC ambassador to Central and South America for the past six years. Under his guidance and as a result of his vision, FJMC and Masorti Olami has sponsored missions to Chile & Argentina, Panama and most recently Peru. In each instance Masorti congregations were visited and continuing relationships were developed with local congregations. Under Michael's guidance twenty-two people spent a shabbat in the Amazon with the newly affiliated and discovered congregations in Iquitos. This community was originally descended from German -Jews who traveled up the Amazon in search of rubber more than one hundred years ago. Many of them intermarried but retained some Jewish practices. A few years ago they were rediscovered and thanks to the efforts of a number of our rabbis,were educated and eventually became fully Jewish. Nearly 500 Inquitos Jews made aliyah in the past few years.
As a result of and in recognition of Michael's efforts, the mission members created the Michael Abadi Latin American Scholarship fund. This fund, to be used at the discretion of Michael and the Executive Committee, will provide needed scholarships to the FJMC Convention or needed Spanish educational materials for these developing isolated communities. People who wish to contribute to this fund in his honor may make donations through the FJMC website (click on the link below) or send checks directly to the FJMC office, ℅ Officense, 300 East Lombard St., Suite 840, Baltimore, MD 21202.
Contribute to the Michael Abadi Latin American Scholarship Fund (click here).
The international region is active. In the picture below, Michael Abadi presents a gift of a pair of tefillin to the Marom leader for Kehila Ajdut Israel in Lanús (Province of Buenos Aires), who is the second person on the picture from left to right. The others are, from left to right: Lucas Lejderman (Executive Director of Marom Olami), Michael Abadi and Leandro Galanternik. Leandro continues to be our bridge to Latin America, now through his dedicated work at the Seminario Rabinico Latinoamericano.
If you'd like to strengthen the movement of Jewish communities connected to the FJMC, we have the person to contact. Leandro attended Convention 2013 in Danvers and participated in a discussion on the valuable role of his institution for promoting Masorti Judaism in Latin America, as well as the ways in which we can cooperate and strengthen links within our Kehillot. One of the many possibilities discussed was to start Skype conversations with members of different Kehillot that will want to start implementing selected FJMC programs, such as the World Wide Wrap (already done in several countries in the region), and the Shoah Yellow Candles. As we continue to strengthen our links, we encourage our members to contact Leandro by the variety of methods at our disposal, whether or not we plan to visit Argentina in the near future. Leandro's email can be accessed by clicking here.