WIZO Brazil

No. of chapters:
Jews population:
E-mail address:
WIZO Brazil
Executive Members for 2009/2012:

President: Helena Kelner
Vice Presidents: Sheila Saubermann
                         Tania Slud
                         Suzana Starosta 

                         Etejane Hepner Coin

Secretary: Branca Stul

Organization: Nelly Starec
International Affairs: Ana Marlene Starec
Finances: Doris Zlatkin, Clara Malim Farah
North-Northeast Integration: Simone Unger
Education: Eva Solewicz

Honrary Life President
Ana Marlene Starec (RJ)
Honrary Life Members
Clara Malim Farah, Margarida Grin, Sarita Schaffel, Teresinha Sandler, Vera Sasson, Zilda Sauer
AVIV Brazil Chairperson
Silvia Goldstein
 AVIV Brazil Deputies
   Liana Kupfer, Iza Mansur, Helena Nasser, Patricia Menda, Tamara Spiguel, Denise Weishof, Gabriela Fucs


The development of the Jewish community of Brazil was very intense during the period between the two World Wars, and it was at this time that WIZO Brazil was founded in 1926. The program of the organization consisted of enlightening Jewish women in the Jewish traditions, in stimulating the education of the children by sending them to local Jewish schools, and supporting the newly founded World WIZO in its struggle to improve conditions for women and children in Eretz Israel.

In 1946, the first Convention of the Sao Paulo Center took place, directed by Dr. Raquel Klompus from Palestine. Delegates from all other centers in the country also came to draw up plans for future work. On this occasion, the unified WIZO Federation of Brazil was created and began to function in two separate sectors: the departments of Organization, Culture and Finance were in Rio de Janiero, while campaign work and the printing of the “Corrente” magazine were in Sao Paulo. This magazine is the most important link between WIZO chaverot throughout this huge country (approximately the size of the European continent), especially for those living far away from the big cities.

The creation of the State of Israel brought new enthusiasm and the impulse to work. In 1951 a large group of chaverot from WIZO Brazil took part in the 12th World WIZO Conference, the first to be held in Israel. As a result of the visit, the Federation decided to sponsor the Maya Rosenberg Secondary Vocational School in Rehovot. Cultural activity also intensified. Seminars, History and Bible lessons, Hebrew language courses, and quizzes on various subjects have taken place. Exhibitions of Israeli artists and even fashion shows were periodically organized to offer the Brazilian public some direct contact with Israeli reality. Special emphasis was given to the World WIZO Bible Day, which had very great success throughout Brazil. A Tourist Department to stimulate trips to Israel was created. They make every effort to take advantage of the Seminars organized by World WIZO in Israel, which they find both important and profitable, helping especially in grooming new leaders and in keeping alive the link between the Brazilian community and Israel.

General Activities

Organization and Membership Recruitment

WIZO-Rio Lapid establish new Aviv Group for the Chapter
        WIZO-Rio’s Ramat Aviv group programmed a special meeting headed by their daughters, daughters-in-
        law and friends of corresponding age-range so that skilled leaders of our organization were able to 
        elaborate on their own personal experience at WIZO. Since this first gathering, subsequent meetings 
        have taken place, always involving the invitation of guest speakers who deal with subjects appealing to 
        these young ladies. The majority of the members of this group are young converted women who have 
        proven to be willing to acquire Jewish Culture. At their own initiative, these ladies have taken a Jewish 
        History Course sponsored by WIZO-Rio.

Effectiveness of Aviv Group formation method in WIZO Rio Grande do Sul Chapter
        Starting from a preliminary project in the Chapter’s Organizational Department, young Jewish women 
        are invited for a meeting where contemporary and relevant subjects are discussed. At such events, 
        the young ladies are motivated towards WIZO volunteer work. A “god-mother” (counselor) supervises 
        the new group’s development. The Chapter provides tutoring courses for the counselors organized by 
        their Organization Department, which oversees the entire process. As a result, over 10 new Aviv 
        groups were formed within a period of three years. This initiative has the full support of the Chapter’s 
        Executive Board.

Jewish Education

WIZO’s educational function is the most cherished one. Every year we carry out national, regional and local seminars where the matters discussed are directly related to Judaism, Zionism, anti-Semitism and WIZO’s work.

One event worth mentioning is the WIZO-Day – WIZO Family Day – produced by WIZO Rio Grande do Sul Chapter. This event, in spite of being a festive day, became an excellent source of educational programming. In 2003, the challenge for the chaverot was to participate in a quiz about WIZO facts. In addition to revealing their knowledge of WIZO history and organization, the chaverot had to show their comprehension of our movement’s attributes. To demonstrate the extent of this contest’s creativity, its final stage required a written work entitled – “If I were Rebecca Sieff today”.


Notwithstanding the traditional events such as art auctions, tourism, bazaars, happy hours, a new segment that has been really increasing is ‘gift producing’ for various Jewish festivities: Rosh Hashanah, Pessach and Chanukah. The various groups from North to Southern Brazil sponsor this fundraising approach. The packets are comprised of flower arrangements, chocolate boxes, ornamental candles, kits containing Challot, wine, a sevivon, etc.

WIZO Sao Paulo’s “Teen & Kids” fashion show was very proficient in its creativity. Famous fashion designers, renowned nationwide, had their creations exhibited by Brazilian society celebrities’ children. This event was an overwhelming success.

Publicity and Hasbarah

a) Publicity
        WIZO Brazil has been working in partnership with local philanthropic institutions from the society at 
        large, enabling WIZO’s image to be bound to the media and at the same time accredited by the local 
        public authorities. We render assistance to children’s hospitals, children and elderly shelters, and to 
        social welfare projects.
        WIZO Rio and WIZO Sao Paulo Chapters organize and sponsor an annual contest designed for State 
        School network students’, permanently relating the topics to Jewish history and Israeli reality, oriented 
        to convey our true image to the young Brazilian generation. 

    b) Hasbarah
        We indeed make the best use of every communication source available to reach our members and their 
        families: by selecting newspapers & periodical articles, which explain facts with reference to the Middle 
        East and, by rendering an educational approach to these topics. 
        The highlight of our agenda in 2003 was our 18th National Kinus, at which the Federation had the honor 
        of welcoming Mrs. Michal, Modai, then President of World WIZO, and Prof. Manuel Tenenbaum, the 
        Director of the Latin-American Jewish Congress. Their speeches, with their gifted ideas, inspired many 
        educational activities.







Projects sponsored by WIZO Brazil in Israel: