Sunday, November 29, 2009

Jewish Students in Brazil Barred from College by Saturday Test Date

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Please write to the Counsel General of Brazil immediately
<>. This is a horrible tragedy for the religious Jewish community of Brazil, and Brazil should know that the world is watching what they do.

Here is a copy of the letter I sent:


November 29, 2009

Dear Consul General de Brazil, <>

It was with a heavy heart that I read a news article about how the national examination in Brazil will be held on a Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, and how religious Jewish students in Brazil will not qualify for college in Brazil because of the test date.

Jews have always been an important and respected group in Brazil, and Brazil has always been known as a place for them to live and succeed. I have included a list of famous Jews from Brazil and their accomplishments. These are only a few of the Jews who have contributed to the growth and prominence of Brazil.

I would like to politely remind the country of Brazil that it is not the Jews who would suffer the most under this misapplication of the law, it is the country of Brazil. If Jews cannot attend colleges in Brazil, you will lose the potential of those bright students. They will never be able to assist Brazil with her growing economy.

Do you want to sacrifice your country’s success on behalf of a test? This is a small matter, easily handled, but the world is watching.

We want to see Brazil do the correct thing by allowing Jewish students to take the test on a day that is not set aside for the sanctification of the Almighty. Perhaps, if the government is concerned with the fairness of the test, the date can be arranged to fall on a weekday, when all Brazilians can take the test in equality.


Michelle Nevada

  • Clara Ant, political activist and presidential adviser
  • Jom Tob Azulay, film director
  • Hector Babenco, film director
  • Leoncio Basbaum, physician and political activist
  • Moysés Baumstein, holographer, film/video producer, painter, writer
  • Manoel Beckman, colonial leader
  • Adriana Behar, beach volleyball player
  • Samuel Benchimol, entrepreneur and Amazon pioneer
  • Abraham Bentes, army commander
  • Daniel Benzali, TV actor
  • Claudio Besserman Vianna, comedian
  • Joel Birman, writer
  • Eva Altman Blay, sociologist and politician
  • Debora Bloch, actress
  • Nilton Bonder, community leader and writer
  • Waldemar Levy, field marshal
  • Boris Casoy, journalist
  • Otto Maria Carpeaux, literary critic
  • Moyses Chahon, army commander
  • Juca Chaves, comedian, composer and singer
  • Victor Civita, journalist
  • Deborah Colker, dancer and choreographer
  • Gilberto Dimenstein, journalist
  • Alberto Dines, journalist
  • Tufi Duek, fashion designer
  • Dina Dublon, director
  • German Efromovich, entrepreneur
  • Benny Feilhaber, professional soccer player[19]
  • Fortuna, singer and composer
  • Vilém Flusser, philosopher
  • Marcelo Gleiser, physicist and writer
  • José Goldemberg, educator, physicist and minister
  • Mario Haberfeld, racing driver
  • Alexandre Herchcovitch, fashion designer
  • Wladimir Herzog, journalist
  • Marc Horowitz, trader
  • Luciano Huck, TV show host
  • Roberto Justus, advertiser and TV host
  • Isaac Karabtchevsky, musician and conductor
  • Jacques Klein, pianist
  • Samuel Klein (businessman), entrepreneur
  • Samuel Kicis, army commander
  • Ithamara Koorax, jazz singer
  • Miguel Krigsner, entrepreneur and environmentalist
  • Celso Lafer, diplomat
  • Cesar Lattes, physicist
  • Jaime Lerner, politician (governor Paraná state), urban planner
  • José Lewgoy, actor and director
  • Clarice Lispector, writer´
  • Gerson Levi-Lazzaris, ethnoarchaeologist
  • Carlos Maltz- Drummer of rock band Engenheiros do Hawaii
  • Salomão Nauslausky, army commander
  • Noel Nutels, public health physician and human rights activist
  • Carlos Nuzman , sportsman and president of Olympic Committee
  • Ivo Perelman, jazz saxophonist
  • Flora Purim, jazz singer
  • Sultana Levy Rosenblatt, writer
  • Ricardo Rosset, Formula One driver
  • Edmond Safra , banker
  • Joseph Safra, banker
  • Ricardo Semler, entrepreneur
  • Moise Safra, banker
  • Silvio Santos, (Senor Abravanel), TV show host
  • Mario Schenberg , physicist
  • Moacyr Scliar, writer
  • Lasar Segall, artist
  • Amir Slama, fashion designer
  • Henry Sobel, Rabbi, community leader
  • Mauricio Waldman, sociologist and politician
  • Yara Yavelberg, political activist
  • Mayana Zatz, geneticist
  • Benjamin Zymler, auditor-general
Brazil Jews decry 'exclusion' from college entrance exam
By Cnaan Liphshiz

Brazilian Jewish teenagers this week protested what they called their "exclusion" from a national exam for high school graduates set to take place on Shabbat, after a Brazilian court said providing Jews with an alternative date would "undermine equality."

"In some areas in Brazil, such a Rio de Janeiro, observant Jewish students cannot apply to some of the leading universities," said Alex Kingel, 17, from Sao Paulo, who will not be taking the test.

Kingel explained that because Rio de Janeiro's leading university is a federal one - funded by the central government - applicants must take the test, known locally as ENEM. The exam, which is not mandatory, is not necessary for applying to locally-funded state universities.

Simone Janovich, also 17, from Higienopolis, Sao Pualo, said: "If I have to, I will go to college even without taking the ENEM."

Last week the Brazilian supreme court reversed a ruling by a Sao Paulo court, which determined that the country's education ministry needed to provide an alternate date for Jews. The test is set for December 5.

The supreme court said Jewish students could take the test after sundown Saturday, calling this a "reasonable" solution. It remains unclear whether Jewish students will be given an extension after sundown.

Supreme court president Gilmar Mendes said giving the Jewish minority an alternative date would harm equality.

"We lost this time but this is not over," said Alberto Milkewitz, who heads the education department of the Jewish community of Sao Paulo. "I consider this a battle for the defense of democracy."

Milkewitz and the Sao Paulo-based Center for Religious Jewish Education had sought the alternative date. "The minority should not have to bend to the majority and democracy does not mean the two should be homogenized," he said.

1 comment:

  1. By constitutional determination regarding the educational system, the aforementioned legislation still applies as long as it does not go against the Constitution. This ambiguity is a consequence of the absence of a new Bases and Guidelines Law and characterizes a transition phase until the new law is finally elaborated and enacted. The bill has already been submitted to congress.


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