Progressive Rabbi to Head Center-right Ticket in Argentinian National Election

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Rabbi Sergio Bergman will lead the ticket for the center-right PRO Party in Argentina’s national elections. The PRO Party confirmed the decision on Saturday hours before the deadline for parties to present candidates for the October vote.

Bergman, a member of the Buenos Aires municipal Legislature, will head the list for the National Lower House. He is the first rabbi to lead a national ticket in Argentina. Bergman holds two rabbinic ordinations, one from the Conservative movement's Rabbinical Assembly and another from the Reform movement's Central Conference of American Rabbis.

Just after being elected to the legislature, Bergman resigned from the Rabbinical Assembly after working for many years to bridge the gaps between the Reform and Conservative movement “I was born Reform and tried during more than twenty years that the Reform and Conservative (movements) worked together," Bergman said. "

Buenos Aires city Mayor Mauricio Macri, who is running against President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of the Victory Front party, tapped Bergman to lead the party list.

Bergman, the senior rabbi of the traditional Congregacion Israelita Argentina, 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 July 2011, he handily won his Legislature seat with 45 percent of the vote.

Before that election, Bergman told JTA that he became involved in politics because Argentinian society is “in a deep crisis of values,” adding, “I believe that Torah can also be taught in the Legislature.”

Rabbi Sergio Bergman, left, at interfaith Hanukkah ceremony in Buenos Aires.Credit: AP

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