The World Sephardi Federation around the World
The Sephardi Federation in the USA is present throughout the USA and is active within the various communities via synagogues, their rabbis and community centers.
The principal centers of activity are located in Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco in the west, New York, New Jersey, Washington and Miami in the east, and Chicago and Philadelphia in the center.
The Federation holds every 18 to 24 months, on a regular basis, a conference that brings together about 400 representatives of towns and states of the USA. In the interim period between conferences, an ongoing Jewish cultural activity is conducted and toward the conference the community representatives submit proposals for the preservation of their community and their culture.
We also focus our activity on Jewish Sephardi youth in the USA by means of the Sephardi Fducational Center which, for the last twenty-two years, has been run by Dr. Joe Nissim. This is an outstanding project for young Jews, aimed at preserving their Judaism and bringing them closer to both Judaism and Israel. We commend the activity of this leader who has dedicated his life and his own funds to the preservation of Judaism among these youth.
The activity of the Sephardi Educational Center is conducted in Jerusalem and from there shlichim and representatives of the Center are sent to the South American continent and also distant places such as
The center of the World Sephardi Federation's Latin American activity was until March 2000 in Santiago, Chile, where the Presidency of the Sephardi Federation of Latin America was located. 12 Latin American states constitute the Latin American Sephardi Federation, in addition to the state of Florida in which Jews who were born in Cuba and moved to the USA reside. This community is organizationally linked to two Sephardi federations, namely, the American and the Latin American.
Prominent figures of the Jewish communities have always stood at the head of the Sephardi Federation in Latin America. They are to be found today at the head of Jewish communities and institutions. All of the general Jewish leadership in Latin America down to the last one began thcir activity in the Sephardi Federation.
Until the end of March 2000, the President of the Federation was Mi-. Yitzhak Ergaz, and he was preceded by Dr. Jose Menasce, who was awarded the highest ranking token of honor by the king of Spain, in acknowledgment of his activity for development and research into the culture of Spanish Jewry.
In late March 2000, at the Fesela Conference held in Santiago, Mr. Yitzhak Aspani of Mexico was elected of the Sephardi Federation of Latin America.
The Federation in Latin America conducts activities within its communities in the different states and every year Sephardi Week events aic held in Chile, Brazil, Uruguay, Venezuela and Florida.
This is a very small, but active and vibrant community. We must therefore commend the activity of the Jewish community of Uruguay that, every year, regularly organizes and sends a group of activists on a study tour to Israel.
Every year, since 1990, the Federation has organized together with the Organization Department study seminars in Israel for a total of approximately 200 activists. We are proud of the fact that from such a distant community, Sephardi Community activists arrive on a regular basis despite the high cost.
In the year 2000, immediately after Sukot, we brought a group of leaders and activists from Montevideo, with the aid of the Organization Department, who provided a financial contribution in order to reduce the cost ofthe seminar.
The principal activity is carried out in two centers, in Rio and in Sao Paulo. This Jewish community was led for many years, and until recently,by Mr Alberto Nasser who is a leader of the world sephardi federation. His activity and devotion is appreciated in all institutions of Keren
Hayesod, the World Zionist Organization and the World Jewish Congress, in which he also serves as vice President.
The community in Sao Paulo is characterized by its warmth and involvement in all matters of Jewish and Zionist life, and we stress this in appreciation of the great devotion of those who stand at the head of the Sephardi community and Federation, people such as Claudio Leon, former president of the Sephardi Federation in Latin America, who endeavors to inspire awareness in the youth of his community, our of fear of assimilation on one hand, and of anti-Zionist ultra-Orthodox tendencies on the other.
With the transfer of the Presidency of the Sephardi Federation of Latin America to Santiago from 1997, Jewish Zionist activity directed at the entire community was felt.
We must remember the cultural activity of the community in Santiago that holds, once a year, a cultural week on the heritage of Spanish Jewry, an event that receives a very enthusiastic reception from the entire Jewish community. In Chile the two communities coexist with splendid relations. Would that this influence the situation between the different communities in Israel.
The Federation is one of the few bodies of the World Zionist Organization that are active within the Jewish Community in India, by means of local volunteers and with the assistance of the Israeli consulate in Bombay.
In the last six years and since 1994, in conjunction with the Sephardi Lducational Center, we hosted 5 groups of 30 young people and adults. Lach group arrived in Israel for a study tour, family visits and the strengthening of their Judaism and Zionism. The Federation assisted in sending emissaries to this community every year, in cooperation with the Sephardi Educational Center in Jerusalem, for a period of one month.
We wish to take this opportunity to thank the Sephardi Educational Center for its contribution to strengthening the ties with the youth in this clistaut country.
Summary of Summer Programs 1994-2000
Sephardi Federation Youth 110 participants
Sephardi Federation Adults 318 participants
Sephardi Federation Welfare Committee Adults 985 participants
Montreal Community Center 182 participants
Students - Sephardi Federation 192 participants
Communities UIA - Keren Hayesod 164 participants
Maimonides School 145 participants
In conjunction with the Sephardi Educational 150 participants
Academics in conjunction with the Educational 172 participants
The Sephardi Educational Center 52 participants
The Federation and the Jewish Community of 119 participants
The Federation and the Sephardi Educational 212 participants
The Federation and the Sephardi Educational 117 participants
The Sephardi Educational Center - Los Angeles 620 participants
Los Angeles Jewish Community Leadership 75 participants
In the last live years, ever since we started conducting follow-up and are directly involved in the organization of these groups, the World Sephardi Federation has brought 3,611 young people to various programs, in-service training, seminars and tours.