bergman - Archives - June 20 2011
Rabbi Sergio Bergman Photo by Archives
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COSTA RICA - Jewish candidates for the Buenes Aires city legislature cannot append the title, "rabbi," to their names on the ballot, an Argentine court ruled over the weekend.

Rabbi Sergio Bergman, a prominent leader of Argentina's Jewish community, has been chosen by Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri to head his PRO party's list for the city legislature. But though he is better known to the public as "Rabbi Bergman" than by his actual name, as the party argued before an Argentine district court, the court found that the title "rabbi" has a positive connotation and is therefore prohibited from appearing on the ballot.

The 49-year-old Bergman - who has served for the past decade as the spiritual leader of Templo Libertad in Buenos Aires, one of the country's largest synagogues - is one of three prominent Jewish leaders contending for leadership positions in the city, which is holding municipal elections on July 10.

Macri is running for reelection against challenger Daniel Filmus, who is a well-known Jewish leader in addition to being a former education minister and the pick of Argentina's president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

The third-place candidate, according to the polls, is Jorge Telerman, a Jewish politician and former journalist who has previously served as deputy mayor and acting mayor of the city.

Recent polls show Macri winning 33 percent of the vote, followed by Filmus with 25 percent and trailed by Telerman, at 5 percent.

There is also a neo-Nazi candidate, Alejandro Biondini, who has made explicitly anti-Semitic statements in the past.

Though polls show he is expected to get only negligible support, various groups - with the support of the Jewish community - have tried, and failed, to get him disqualified from the race.