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icjw president visits mexico

En route to the Commission on the Status of Women in New York in March 2015,  ICJW President Robyn Lenn visited ICJW's newest affiliate in Mexico, the Mexican Jewish Volunteers.
For my two day visit I was hosted by VJM President Sonia Rusansky and conducted around Jewish Mexican organisations by Past President Lilian Grinberg. It was a very full but satisfying program and formed a most informative introduction to the Jewish community.
There are around 40,000 Jews resident in Mexico City. Mexico's Jewish history speaks of large numbers of Jews who emigrated early in C20 and formed cultural groups which remain intact one century later. Thus two quite separate communities of Syrian Jews, originally from Aleppo and Damascus, retain their own schools, synagogues, cemeteries and cultural centres. And there are quite separate centres for the Sephardic Jews from Turkey, Greece and the Balkan States and Ashkenazi Jews from Eastern Europe.
Sonia and Lilian organised meetings with the CEO Director of the Central Committee for the Mexican Jewish Community, Mauricio Lulka and the Tribuna Israelita Director Renee Dayan. I learnt about this very different community and its great success in maintaining a full Jewish life for the Jews of Mexico City.
We had an extensive tour of one of the twelve Jewish schools in Mexico City by Director general Raquel Torenberg Rodov from the Sefaradi School, and a look at the many buildings in the complex, including beautiful halls and a synagogue.  Later I was introduced to the President and Secretary General of the Monte Sinai Society, and a look at their huge modern community structures.
It was pleasing to visit a centre which is likely to be used by the whole Jewish community - the huge and well equipped Jewish centre containing the Jewish Sports Centre as well as an extensive library and numerous rooms for all sorts of activities. This will be the venue for ICJW's Latin American Regional meeting and Executive meeting in October this year.
I met the members of ICJW”s affiliate Mexican Jewish Volunteers at a meeting in a member's
home and learnt about the work that each member has contributed to the community in Mexico. There were a number of different volunteer activities including that taught to VJM by David Copperfield some years back: the Project Magic skills are very effective rehabilitation for disabled people. VJM supports four schools for children with special needs and work in two senior citizens centres and two hospitals.
My final official activity organised by Lilian was a special meeting of all presidents of Mexican Jewish women's organisations  to introduce ICJW to the community.
Over twenty women attended, each was happy to speak about the work of her organisation and I answered many questions about the work of ICJW.
I was surprised and delighted at their interest and wish to be involved in ICJW activities. We will hope to see some of these organisations represented at open sessions of the Mexican regional meeting in October.