Dr. Claudio Lottenberg speaks to students at the Hillel of Rio de Janiero.
While the Hillels in North America may have slowed down for the summer months, the Hillel of Rio de Janiero in Brazil has been as busy as ever.
The Hillel of Rio, a community based organization, serves nearly 3,000 Jewish young adults between the ages of 18-30. Since it opened its doors nearly three years ago, the Hillel has connected with nearly half of the total Jewish population, becoming the premier Jewish young adult organization in Brazil.
In July, the Hillel’s Business Club hosted a lecture with the prominent Dr. Claudio Lottenberg, president of Albert Einstein hospital in Sao Paolo. Before a crowd of more than 100 students, Dr. Lottenberg shared lessons from his professional life as a doctor and hospital manager as well as his commitment to Jewish values like tzedakah and tikkun olam.
Also in July, the outdoors club, Hillel Adventure, took 40 students on an all-day river rafting trip two hours outside of Rio. And shortly after the recent violence erupted in the Middle East, the Hillel held a special event to inform the students about the latest developments in the country. Many new students came to the event which was moderated by the schlicha or Israel emissary. Key issues like U.N. Resolution 1559 and the Hezbollah organization were debated and the students learned Israel advocacy strategies.
The Hillel also held its first registration meeting for its upcoming December 2006 birthright Israel trip. After the meeting, 72 students signed up and another meeting is planned for later this month.
“We have had an exciting season these past few months,” said Marcia Kelner Polisuk, director of Hillel of Rio de Janiero. “There’s been a lot of velocity. Our Hillel has been picking up speed!”