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Tornado & Flood Relief: The URJ’s Tornado Relief ($100,000+ to date) and Alberta Flooding Relief funds are assisting victims of these natural disasters. (The URJ takes no administrative fees.) To make a donation: urj.org/relief

ReformJudaism.org—Jewish Life in Your Life: The URJ has launched ReformJudaism.org, offering both affiliated and unengaged Jews such interactive content as a video introducing Reform Judaism, “Ask a Rabbi,” search Jewish baby names, find a mohel/mohelet, connect to a congregation, go to a Jewish event near you, send a free holiday e-card, discover articles on a broad range of Jewish topics, and delve into Reform commentaries on any Torah portion. Visitors can suggest recipes, blog posts, and events to be added to the site calendar. 

Journey to Citizenship: Last March, Argentina-born Rabbi Claudio J. Kogan, MD, MBE, MEd stood before Federal Judge Ricardo Hinojosa at Temple Emanuel, McAllen, TX to take the oath of U.S. citizenship. Following the ceremony, he told this story to the congregation he now serves as rabbi:

“I first came to this country in 1993 while I was in my fourth year of medical school in Buenos Aires. Three years later I returned to New York City to begin studying to become a mohel . In 1999, with the help of Women of Reform Judaism, I returned to America with a student visa to enter rabbinical school at HUC-JIR.

After my ordination in 2003, I went on 13 job interviews without success. No congregation wanted to hire me, because of my “heavy accent” and my “being overqualified”—I was a rabbi, medical doctor, and mohel who held a master’s degree in education and two master’s in Hebrew letters.

With the economic meltdown in Argentina, I was desperate to stay in America, but it was starting to look hopeless. My visa would soon be expiring, and U.S. immigration laws had become increasingly restrictive post 9/11.

Then, on the very day my visa was to expire and I would have to return to Argentina, Rabbi Bennett Miller of Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple in New Brunswick, NJ offered me a position as a rabbi educator, leading a Hebrew school attended by 300+ children. As a result, I received a religious visa and, later, a worker permit. When I sought a green card, I learned that Anshe Emeth, like many other congregations, did not have 501c3 status, which the U.S. government requires for nonprofit organizations to sponsor a new immigrant’s green card. Anshe Emeth took this step, and I received my green card in 2007.

Today, March 24, 2013, marks the 37th anniversary of the Argentina military junta’s revocation of its citizens’ freedoms. What an honor—to become on this anniversary a citizen in ‘the land of the free and the home of the brave.’”