Community Center, Quito, Ecuador


Parshat Bo (בא – va), Exodus 10, 1 to 13, 16.

Gd unleashes the last three plagues. He prescribes to the children of Israel: to count the month of Aviv1 as the first month, to sacrifice the paschal lamb, to mark the lintels of the doors and to consume unleavened bread. The children of Israel leave Egypt laden with riches. G‑d commands to consecrate the firstborn to Him.

Exodus 13, 4
הַיּוֹם, אַתֶּם יֹצְאִים, בְּחֹדֶשׁ, הָאָבִיב.
Today you are leaving, in the month of spring.

Nicknamed Ciudad de la Eterna Primavera2, Quito enjoys, throughout the year, a temperate and sunny climate and an average temperature of 20°.

In 1914, Julio Rosenstock, originally from Austria, arrived in Ecuador to participate in the construction of the railway. In the 1930s, he returned to his native country as consul for Ecuador. In 1934, he returned to Ecuador and in 1938, he founded the Israelite Association of Quito to welcome European Jews fleeing Nazism. While many countries closed their borders, Ecuador welcomed 4,500 Jews between 1933 and 1945. Due to assimilation and emigration, particularly to Israel, Ecuador had only a thousand Jews left.

The Comunidad Judía Del Ecuador synagogal complex was inaugurated in 2000. It includes: a mikveh, two synagogues, a school, a central kitchen, a restaurant and residences for Shabbat, a gym, an indoor swimming pool and a building for the ‘Hevra Kadisha.

1 He was called Nissan after he returned from captivity in Babylon.
2 City of Eternal Spring

Saarlouis, Saarland, Germany


Parshat Vaera (וארא – And I Appeared), Exodus 6, 2 to 9, 35.
Gd, send upon Egypt plagues destined to compel Pharaoh to leave from the Hebrews.

Exodus 8, 27
הִנֵּה אָנֹכִי, נֹגֵף אֶת-כָּל-גְּבוּלְךָ- בַּצְפַרְדְּעִים.
I am about to infest of frogs throughout your territory.

Until 1900, lamps, called frogs were used in the coal mines of the region mining in the Saar basin. The best-known models: Harz, Westphalian or Saar frogs. They were dangerous and caused many accidents in the mines by gas and dust ignition (firedamp explosion).

frog lamps

Exodus of Jews from Saarlouis:
Jews living in Saarlouis are mentioned as early as 1685, five years after the city was founded by Louis XIV. Saarlouis passed from one owner to another without too much damage to the Jewish community. In 1808, following the decree of Bayonne, the lawyer, Herschel Mordechai1 took the name of Heinrich Marx. In 1815, by the Treaty of Paris, the Saarland was attached to Prussia. After the war of 14-18, the Saarland was placed under the administration of the League of Nations. Following the referendum2 of 1935, the Saarland became German again. Over the next two years, Jews were socially excluded and most Jewish families in Saarlouis left the city for France (Lorraine) or Luxembourg. 

The synagogue :
November 1938, the interior of the synagogue is destroyed. In 1983, the building was demolished. In 1987, a new building was built on the model of the old synagogue.


1 Born in Saarlouis and died in Trier (1777-1838), the son of the rabbi from Trier, Levy Mordechai and the Karl Marx’s father.
2 After the Second World War, the Saarland was attached to the French administration and was returned to Germany in 1957, following the 1955 referendum.

Zippori, Upper Galilee, Israel

Parshat Shemot (שמות – Names), Exodus 1:1-6:1

Exodus 2:21
וַיּוֹאֶל מֹשֶׁה, לָשֶׁבֶת אֶת-הָאִישׁ; וַיִּתֵּן אֶת-צִפֹּרָה בִתּוֹ, לְמֹשֶׁה
Moshe consented to stay with this man,
who gave him Ziporah, his daughter, in marriage.

Ziporah (ציפורה – bird female) is one of the seven daughters of Jethro.
Zipori1 is known as the birthplace of Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi2, Tanna who completed the compilation of the Mishna, around 200.
The synagogue3 dates from the end of the Byzantine period (5th century). The mosaic floor is divided into four themes: the binding of Isaac, the signs of the zodiac, the Mishkan and the Ark of the Covenant. The Jewish quarter has been reconstructed and you can walk there.

1 The city would have been called Zippori (ציפורי – birds), because it is located on the top of the hill like the birds.
2 Rabbi Yehuda hannassi רבי יהודה הנשיא (135-circa 220) known as Rabbi or Rabbenu Haqadosh is a Tanna (plural tannaim). This term comes from the Judeo-Aramaic Chanah (שנה), from which the word Michna (מִשְׁנָה) also derives. It means: repeater [of the opinions of his masters and predecessors].
3 See the panorama on Earth

Bnei Ephraim and Bnei Manasseh, India

Parshat Vayechi (ויחי – and he lived) Genesis 47:28–50:26.
This week’s Parsha contains the verses that frame (Genesis 48:20 and 48:16) the blessing of the cohanim (Numbers 6:24 to 26), together which make up the traditional Friday evening blessing of parents to their children1

Genesis, 48:20
יְשִׂמְךָ אֱלֹקים כְּאֶפְרַיִם וְכִמְנַשֶּׁה
May Gd make you like Ephraim and Menasheh

Numbers 6:24 to 26
יְבָרֶכְךָ יי, וְיִשְׁמְרֶךָ.
יָאֵר יי פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ, וִיחֻנֶּךָּ.
יִשָּׂא יי פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ, וְיָשֵׂם לְךָ שָׁלוֹם.
May the Lord bless you and protect you.
May the Lord make his face shine upon you and be kind to you.
May the Lord look upon you and grant you peace.

Genesis, 48:16
הַמַּלְאָךְ הַגֹּאֵל אֹתִי מִכָּל-רָע, יְבָרֵךְ אֶת-הַנְּעָרִים, וְיִקָּרֵא בָהֶם שְׁמִי, וְשֵׁם אֲבֹתַי אַבְרָהָם וְיִצְחָק; וְיִדְגּוּ לָרֹב, בְּקֶרֶב הָאָרֶץ.
May the angel who delivered me from all evil, bless these young people. May he perpetuate my name and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac. May it multiply infinitely in the middle of the land.

The Bnei Menaché live mainly in Moreh, an Indian town located on the border of Burma in the Indian state of Manipur (northeastern India). They consider their legendary ancestor Hmar Manmasi to be none other than Menaché, son of Joseph.
In 2005, Israel allowed them to make aliyah, after having made a formal conversion. About 3,000 members of the community immigrated to Israel. There are still 7,000 in India.

The Bnei Ephraim live in Kothareddy Palem, an Indian village located on the shore of Lake Bhavanasi in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh (coastal region in southeastern India).
The Bene Ephraim or Telugu Jews claim to be descendants of the tribe of Ephraim. They are not recognized to this day as Jewish by the rabbinate of Israel.

Genesis 50:24
ויי פָּקֹד יִפְקֹד אֶתְכֶם, וְהֶעֱלָה אֶתְכֶם מִן-הָאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת, אֶל-הָאָרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר לְאַבְרָהָם לְיִצְחָק וּלְיַעֲקֹב
Know that the Lord will direct you and bring you back from this land to the land He promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

1 For the girls, Ephraim and Ménaché were replaced by Rivka, Ra’hel and Lea
2 Kuki, Chin, The Israelite Origin of Mizo-Hmar; Myth or reality? By Lal Dena (link is external)