OTS Amiel BaKehila Celebrates its 100th Delegation

This week, OTS Amiel BaKehila celebrated the departure of its 100th delegation, as Rabbi Jaron Engelmeyer, Gaza border farmer Avichai Koch, and Educational Artist Sarit Gizbar departed for an eight-day delegation to Vienna, Basel and Bratislava. We are deeply gratified to have such wonderful partner communities who warmly welcome our delegations, and such incredible artists, educators and speakers, who have brought their talents, wisdom and knowledge to Jews of all ages in communities around the world!

Limor Amir – Medical Clown

 Limor Amir is an educational counselor, theater teacher, director, actress and medical clown.

She has a B.A in Special Education, an M.A. in Educational Counseling

and is certified in directing and acting, drama therapy and humor therapy.Limor has more than 30 years experience in the educational system. She gives lectures on humor and gives workshops to audiences of various ages and to special needs populations.Limor’s speaks Hebrew (mother tongue) as well as English. She has charisma, humor, and extensive experience in how to communicate with audiences.

The Jewish Community of Montevideo

A conversation with Rabbi Max and Rabbanit Efrat Godet, the Chief Rabbi and Rebbetzin of Montevideo

Tell us five things that characterize the Jewish Community of Montevideo

Uruguay itself is extremely secular, a fact that has greatly influenced the development of the community, which is characterized as very Zionist and traditional, not so religious.

Thanks to a large number of families that make aliyah every year, the community has shrunk a lot. Today about twelve thousand Jews live throughout Uruguay. There are more Uruguayan Jews in Israel than in Uruguay.

Despite our differences, the community is quite united. Different levels of observance and tradition and the different political perspectives are not factors that generate conflict or separation.

Share a community program or activity that you consider beneficial for other communities

During the year, we carry out several inter-community activities, which strengthen the sense of belonging to the community as a whole. On Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) we do a single memorial program in which young people from all youth movements and all institutions participate. On Yom Ha’atzmaut we all celebrate together with a single mega event. For the last two years, we have also had a great inter-community Purim party. On those days we set aside our differences. There is no Orthodox, secular or conservative. We are simply Jews.

Tell us about the Jewish community of Montevideo

The community has all the services that Uruguayan Jews may need, in addition to a number of various active institutions. In Montevideo, there are seven active synagogues, six orthodox and one conservative. There are two Jewish schools, one more religious, the other more traditional, and a majority of the Uruguayan Jewish children and youth study there. Both schools have Kosher food.

Virtually all the tnuot (youth movements) have branches in Uruguay, as well as the large international Jewish institutions, such as KKL, Keren Hayesod, Wizo, Bnei Brith and many others.

Ours is a fairly well-organized community. A Central Committee represents and unites all the different community institutions, and a Zionist Youth Federation centralizes and interacts with all the Tnuot. Finally, the Chief Rabbinate is responsible for basic religious services and structure.

OTS Amiel Bakehila Partner Profile:

Ianir Kilinski – Musician

As a multi-instrumentalist musician, I travel the world collecting unique experiences and instruments, participating in educational shows and events in Israel and around the world.

I participate in OTS Amiel BaKehila delegations to nurture and help strengthen the special connection that exists between all Jews and our history. In my recitals, I perform concerts that utilize music to traverse the history and the people of Israel; from our leaving Egypt, to our arrival in Israel, we travel through the Diaspora and its music and finally culminates in the return to our Land.

Beautiful things happen to me on every trip. I remember especially my last trip, the first OTS Amiel BaKehila delegation to Palma de Mallorca, Spain. A woman there told us that the place where she feels her neshamah – her soul – belongs, is Tekoa, a beautiful village near Jerusalem. Amazingly, the delegation leader, Rabbi Gulman, lives there. When she heard this, the woman cried tears of joy. This experience reminded me what a great privilege it is to be living in Eretz Israel. There are many people who want and dream every day of coming home, and it is something that I sometimes take for granted. This experience made me appreciate my aliyah and my land even more.

What happens during our delegations is very meaningful. I am truly amazed at the connection people have with their Judaism, even though the reality of the Diaspora is not easy. These people maintain so much sweetness.

My message to our communities is that just as music has accompanied us throughout our history, so too we must continue to accompany each other, feeling united, strengthened and mutually supportive. From my travels I have learned the importance of being together, supporting and listening to one another.