Rabbi in Colombia making things happen
Rav Shimon Yehoshua serves the Bnei Anousim (descendants of the forced Jewish converts of the Spanish Inquisition) communities and conversion candidates in Colombia. Rabbi Shimon was born in Argentina and received his rabbinic ordination in Jerusalem at the Beit Hamidrash Hasefaradí. He is a graduate of the Amiel Institute, which prepares Rabbis for the Diaspora. Prior to his work in Colombia, he served as Chief Rabbi of Pattaya, Thailand, and was the general program coordinator for Latin America of Bnei Akiva. His leadership and rabbinical experience has served him well, as his current activities show.
Rav Shimon reported that on May 14 there were 70 Jewish conversions performed in Bogotá and 9 weddings! This mega event took place with people who came from different places in Latin America: Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Mexico. Additionally, a group of participants who came from Peru stayed for a Community Leadership Seminar that Rav Shimon gave.
These amazing accomplishments were not all Rav Shimon did even in the month of May. On a recent Shabbat, the prolific rabbi held a special event in Cali for 30 single people to promote Jewish matchmaking.
In Bogotá, at the moment, the rabbi leads a community of around 100 people. This community has been growing in the last seven years since the rabbi practically started it from scratch. He has also dedicated himself to combining minhagim (customs) and different liturgical traditions of the prayers as a way of unifying community life. In addition, there are already 50 other former community members in Israel who have made aliyah (moved to Israel).
The rabbi is also in charge of the other communities in Colombia. In Cali, there are two communities of about 50 members each. There are also communities in Medellín, Villa Vicencio and Barranquilla. A big congratulations to Rav Shimon for his prolific work of him and we wish him continued success!