Las Damas Voluntarias de Bnai Israel, Costa Rica
Las Damas Voluntarias de Bnai Israel is the Sisterhood of the Congregation B’nei Israel, a liberal community founded in 1987 in San Jose, Costa Rica. It is one of the strongest and longest-existing arms of the congregation, led by president Florencia Gelman. It has its own by-laws and finances itself by means of fund-raising activities such as bingo, bazaars, dinners and parties. The funds go toward synagogue operations, purchase of materials for the school and scholarships to enable students to participate in overseas events, among other things.
The commitment and enthusiasm of the women make this group one of the motors of the congregation. Meetings are held once a month and focus on the planning of activities, as well as on study of subjects of interest for women.
The Sisterhood’s main project in 2015 was the printing of a Shiron (song book) of Jewish music for synagogue use and for sale. The book was launched in May with a concert by the Congregation choir, together with the La Carpio Symphony Orchestra, which is made up of children from a marginal area. These are at-risk children whose lives are being changed through music. Besides launching the Shiron, the Sisterhood’s aim in organising the concert was also to raise funds for this orchestra.