Argentina Rabbi-Congressman Sergio Bergman Skips Shabbat Session

Buenos AIres Rep MIsses Opening of Parliament


By JTA

Published February 27, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Rabbi Sergio Bergman, a lawmaker in Argentina’s National Parliament, will miss the opening of the 2014 legislative session and the State of the Union Speech because it occurs on Shabbat.

The opening session is scheduled to take place this year on Saturday, March 1. The newly elected parliament will be seated for the first time, during which the president of the country will visit the parliament in order to deliver the State of the Union speech.

Bergman told JTA that he has the support of his center-right PRO party, for whom he will be representing the people of Buenos Aires City, to miss his first parliamentary session. He also requested and received permission from the president of the Parliament Chamber to miss the session, noting that there is “a Constitutional guarantee of freedom of worship.”

Shabbat, Begman said in an email Thursday from Rome minutes before a scheduled meeting with Pope Francis as part of an Argentine interfaith mission, “is a day of introspection and in the case of a rabbi is the day that is dedicated exclusively to spiritual issues in the community. My fellow party members respect me on this point; it is part of the diversity and plurality of our party. ”

The parliamentary rabbi, whose PRO Party won 34.5 percent of the vote in elections in late October, is believed to be the only rabbi elected to a national parliament outside of Israel.

Bergman, 51, is the author of five books and is recognized internationally. He founded a network of Jewish schools and educational projects that includes a gay alliance and a rural farm. The senior rabbi of the traditional Congregacion Israelita Argentina, he is the founder of Active Memory, a group that demonstrated every Monday for a decade seeking justice for the victims of the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires.

He will officially begin representing Buenos Aires City in the Lower House of the National Congress on March 3.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • “I don’t want to say, ‘Oh oh, I’m not Jewish,’ because when you say that, you sound like someone trying to get into a 1950s country club, “and I love the idea of being Jewish." Are you a fan of Seth Meyers?
  • "If you want my advice: more Palestinians, more checkpoints, just more reality." What do you think?
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.