Fernanda Tomchinsky-Galanternik has been inaugurated as rabbi of São Paulo’s Congregação Israelita Paulista (CIP). Tomchinsky-Galanternik, a mother of one and trained psychologist who was ordained in Argentina last December, will lead a 2,000-family congregation, the largest in Latin America, reported JTA. At a ceremony last week, CIP’s president said, “We believe that women can perform mitzvot and participate in an equal position in religious services. Nothing is mandatory, but women are allowed to participate in an egalitarian way.”
“Rabbi Fernanda,” as she has been commonly called, is the third female rabbi to serve at a Brazilian synagogue. Rio’s Reform temple ARI was the pioneer, hiring Rabbi Sandra Kochmann of Paraguay in 2003. Brazilian-born Luciana Pajecki Lederman has been the rabbi at the Conservative Comunidade Shalom in Sao Paulo since 2005.