Vol. 6, No. 96 December 14th, 2017

Happy Hanukkah!
!חג חנוכה שמח

Dec.12, 2017 -- 24 Kislev, 5778

Hanukkah begins tonight at sunset, and we'd like to wish all our members, supporters and friends a truly bright, warm, happy and healthy Festival of Lights. Below you will find the schedule of events for the big Hanukkah weekend coming up, featuring the visit of Rabbi Juan Mejía, the honorary rabbi of Kehilla Shalom San Miguel de Allende, the Conservative Minyan group that meets under the umbrella of CHESMA, A.C. at the JC3.

All are invited to attend any or all of these festive events, which will be held at the
Jewish Cultural and Community Center of San Miguel de Allende 
Calle de las Moras #47 
Col. Allende.


Friday, Dec. 15:

5:30 pm: Kabbalat Shabbat service and potluck dinner at the JC3; Rabbi Mejía will lead the service and Div’rei Torah. Hanukkah candle lighting before sunset (bring your hanukiot and candles). Also, please bring prepared food (dairy or pareve/ vegetarian) to share: salads, pasta, desserts, beverages, etc.
Come welcome the Sabbath, as well as Rabbi Mejía!


Saturday, Dec. 16

9:00 am: Shabbat Shacharit service featuring the Bat Mitzvah of Luthien Ayon (eldest daughter of Dr. Helder Ayón Flores, who will sponsor the festive kiddush). Rabbi Mejía will lead the Hallel prayers and the Torah service.

Approx. noon: Torah Discussion Class (in Spanish) to be led by Rabbi Mejía after kiddush.

5:45 pm: Minchah/Maariv services

6:45 pm: Havdalah and discussion; Hanukkah candlelighting (bring 'em if you got 'em) after havdalah.


Sunday, Dec. 17

9:30 am: Weekday Shacharit (morning service) with Rabbi Mejía (bring tefillin, if you have them).

11:30 am: Meetings with conversion candidates (private event.)

3 pm: presentation (in English) “The Hidden Jews of Latin America”; suggested donation $100 pesos

4 pm: Annual Community Chanukah Party, with klezmer band (4:30-5:30), dreidel tournament for the kids, latkes, etc. Chanukiot lighting at about 6 pm--again, remember to bring your hanukiot and candles (7 of 'em).

There will be no charge to attend, but voluntary donations to cover costs would be greatly appreciated! To keep this annual event forever free, we ask that everyone please bring food (dairy or pareve/ vegetarian) to share: salads, pasta, desserts, beverages, etc.

In addition, kindly donate a small bag of canned/dried food that will used to build a community "Mitzvah Menorah" which will be donated to charity after the party.



Rabbi Juan Pablo Mejía Restrepo
Honorary Rabbi of Kehilla Shalom San Miguel de Allende

Rabbi Juan Mejía was born in Bogotá, Colombia. When he was 15, he discovered his converso roots and began to explore the history of the secret Jews of Latin America. This process eventually led him to Jerusalem, where he rejoined his people and decided to pursue the rabbinate in order to help others to find their Jewish souls. There he met his wife, Abby Jacobson, also a rabbinical student. Rabbi Mejía holds an undergraduate degree in Philosophy from the National University of Colombia and a summa cum laude Master’s Degree in Jewish Civilization from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He received rabbinic ordination from the Rabbinical School of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in NY.

Rabbi Mejía dreams of establishing a Yeshiva and Return Center for conversos in the American Southwest where he can help train the leadership of these new communities both in the U.S. and in Latin America. In the meantime, he teaches classes to conversos in seven countries through his website: and is the coordinator for the American Southwest/Latin America Region for the Jewish non-profit organization Bechol Lashon
In 2013, Rabbi Juan was recognized as one of “America's Most Inspiring Rabbis” by the New York City-based Jewish newspaper the Jewish Daily Forward.
Rabbi Mejía lives with his wife, Rabbi Abby Jacobson, and 2 daughters in Oklahoma City, OK.

I Googled him, so you don’t have to: to read some of Rabbi Mejías articles, click on the following links.



Saturday, December 16th @ 9 am

Kehilla Shalom San Miguel de Allende's
Conservative Shabbat Shacharit Service
@ 9 am

Saturday, December 16th @ 12:15 aprox.
Torah Study / Discussion Groups

Following the Morning Services and Kiddush (approx. 12:15 pm give or take 15 minutes)
All are welcome.

Tuesday, December 19th @ 10 am
Meditation Group

Attendance is open to all interested meditators from first time beginners to those with a long standing regular meditation practice, regardless of religious background.

Some elements of Jewish Meditation will be included. Our intention is to form a group that will meet on a regular basis for sitting practice, guided as well as silent meditation, meditation discussion and shared learning.

Announcing our 5th Annual “Jewish Xmas” (Nittelnacht) Event

Sunday, Dec. 24th, 6 pm at the JC3

“So what do Jews do here in SMA on Xmas?”, you might ask. I'm glad you asked, because the gringo Jews have brought with them the long-standing custom to watch movies and eat Chinese food. Doesn't everybody? (What, you were expecting maybe Chanukah bushes and mistletoe under the chuppah?)

Please join us for a wonderful film and scrumptious “kosher-enough” Chinese buffet at the Jewish Cultural and Community Center, Calle de las Moras #47, Col. Allende (corner of Cinco de Mayo).

We are pleased to present the movie:

Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer (2016) ‧ Thriller/Drama ‧ 1h 58m ‧ In English and Hebrew, w/Eng. subtitles
Starring Richard Gere who plays the title role in this film from NY-born Israeli writer and director Joseph Cedar. The “spoiler” title tells a lot of what this movie is about but it is indeed much more. Reaching beyond his traditional roles, Mr. Gere, in exemplary fashion, portrays the part of Norman Oppenheimer, a self-styled consultant/businessman who knows someone who knows someone else who knows another who can get you the contacts or deals you are seeking. The film takes us into the inner workings of smart east coast investors to the chambers and offices of the Israeli Knesset, its cabinet and its Prime Minister, and how Norman, by conniving and sheer chutzpah, interacts with them all. For those familiar with Yiddish parlance, he would be commonly referred to as a “macher”, or in English, an influential guy with great connections. The interesting point in the casting is that the actors portraying the Israeli members of the cast are, in fact, Israeli, but the other Jewish roles, including Norman, are played by non-Jewish performers such as Michael Sheen, as Norman’s nephew, and Steve Buscemi, as Norman’s rabbi. Make no mistake, this film is more universal in its appeal than the Semitic nature of its script would imply for it deals with drama, political intrigue, thrills and a story that will keep the viewer interested, on edge and appreciative of a well performed and well written motion picture. As Norman himself might say, “Try it, you’ll like it!”

                Cost: 300 pesos, members                                          350 pesos, non-members


  Reservations absolutely necessary, before Dec. 23                                              

Call 185-9191 or click here to make your reservations.

Hope to see you there! Happy holidays to all!!

“First Friday - Live” Musical Shabbat
Fri, January 5, 2018, 5:30 - 7:00 pm
Jewish Cultural & Community Center (JC3)
de las Moras # 47, at the corner of Cinco de Mayo
for further info:   (415) 185-9191


Come celebrate the New Year by attending our  “First Friday … Live! Shabbat Service on Friday, January 5, 2018. Our uplifting musical Shabbat is lively, joyous and brief. We honor many streams of Judaism with meaningful readings, songs and stories - some familiar, some contemporary. All are invited to be participants, not just spectators.
Save the Date - Sunday, February 11 @ 4:30 p.m. “Reflections from the Heart” a history of Yiddish music from the Shtetl to Broadway.
Featuring Maxine Graboyes and Tzigane Collectivo Klezmer group and narrated by Dan Lessner
You must be a paid member to vote on our new slate.
Proposed new officers are:

President:  Dan Lessner
VP:             Daniel Torres
Secretary:  Raúl Martínez
Treasurer:  Eric Kaplan

Our agenda will include:
1. Financial report
2. Review of our accomplishments during the last year
3. Cake, coffee, and camaraderie
Monday, January 29th @ 4 pm

It's time to renew your membership!

We would sincerely appreciate it if you would pay your dues in full on or before January 1, 2018. We have bills to pay just like you and we count on your prompt dues payments to keep JC3 running.

Thank you for your support!


How to Pay?

You may pay the USD equivalent in Canadian dollars or in Mexican pesos at the current local exchange rate. (The rate we actually get when we change the currency to equal the USD amount locally).

All checks must be made to CHESMA, A.C.

From abroad, kindly mail your dues and donations to:

CHESMA, AC/Shalom San Miguel
220 N. Zapata Hwy, #11 PMB 613A
Laredo, TX 78043

If you are in town you can drop off cash or checks at the JC3 (Las Moras #47), office hours Mon - Thu 9 to 5, Friday 9 to 3.

For your convenience, dues may be left at La Conexion, box 613 A (checks only; please do not leave cash there).

You may transfer funds from your Mexican bank account into ourCiBanco account:
Beneficiario- CHESMA AC
Cuenta Clabe- 143180000004013236

Or you can use Paypal

Please consider in addition to your membership to give a donation for some of our special funds, surely one of them will touch your heart

Our funds:



You may pay the USD equivalent in Canadian dollars or in Mexican pesos at the current local exchange rate. (The rate we actually get when we change the currency to equal the USD amount locally).

All checks must be made to CHESMA, A.C.

From abroad, kindly mail your dues and donations to:

CHESMA, AC/Shalom San Miguel
220 N. Zapata Hwy, #11 PMB 613A
Laredo, TX 78043

If you are in town you can drop off cash or checks at the JC3 (Las Moras #47), office hours Mon - Thu 9 to 5, Friday 9 to 3.

For your convenience, dues may be left at La Conexion, box 613 A (checks only; please do not leave cash there).

You may transfer funds from your Mexican bank account into our CIBanco account:
Beneficiario- CHESMA AC
Cuenta Clabe- 143180000004013236

Or you can use Paypal
Thank you to all the people that came to help to set up the Hanukkah decorations and the ones that brought warm clothes to the people in need.
Canela is looking for a permanent home!!

She is Canela and she is looking for a permanent home, she was rescued from the streets of San Miguel. She is tall and very playful, about 4 years old, she likes kids and she is ok around cats, she is vaccinated, dewormed, neutered and a very good guardian, she has a great temper.

Please contact Edith if you are interested in meeting her, I'm leaving San Miguel soon and I want to find a good home for her.

Thank you!!
442 1221573

First Jewish Cemetery space in all of the Bajío

CHESMA, AC is now in negotiations with the owners of the Jardines Nueva Vida cemetery in Fracc. Jardines II, SMA. We need just 15 people to purchase their spots within the next few months, and we can move forward with our plans to establish the first Jewish Cemetery space in all of the Bajío! The rates are quite reasonable, and I urge everyone reading this to seriously consider this proposal (or if you already have plans with a cemetery back in the US or Canada, to purchase a space here and donate it for burial of individuals who can’t afford it.) Burial of the dead in consecrated soil is a great mitzvah.

For more information, or to commit to purchase a space, please contact Gerardo Schwarz at, or call the JC3 at (415) 185-9191. Thank you!!
KKL-JNF collection boxes, have existed for many years in almost every Jewish home and educational institution in Israel and around the world. The State of Israel was built on these blue boxes. Their existence not only enabled the collection of money from hundreds of thousands of Jews to buy land in Eretz Israel, but it also was a major educational item to convey the strong link of the People of Israel to its land. 

Keren Kayemeth Mexico is giving our community the opportunity of being part of this interesting and successful project. Please come to our office and pick up yours!

To learn more about them please click here

Bikur Cholim

Our Bikur Cholim committee is for all members needing help with health issues. We would deeply appreciate being informed of anyone critically ill, in serious treatment, hospitalized, or otherwise in dire need of health assistance by family, friends, neighbor, or personally by the shut-in or convalescent individual.


Membership dues are a bargain at $180 USD individual or $250 USD/family: we purposely keep the dues modest (approx. USD$3.50/$4.80 per week, 49/68 cents per day) to encourage everyone to join.

Kehilla Shalom San Miguel de Allende

Two years ago, the Traditional/Egalitarian Minyan Group under the umbrella of CHESMA, AC was accepted for affiliation with the United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism, and is now a new legal unincorporated religious entity known as "Kehilla Shalom San Miguel de Allende", giving us international recognition and paving the way for greater acceptance by the mainstream Jewish communities in Mexico.

Mi Shebeirach

Included among our many prayers for a speedy and complete healing, we would like to mention those for members Batya Chaya bat Sura, Miriam Yocheved bat Esther Yehudit, John “JD” Dayton, Itke bat Olga, Pesach ben Rivka, Laib Hirsh ben Sura v’Mechel, Devorah Gadit bat Sara, Rita Salander, Batya Chaya bat Sura, Zahava Dora bat Shule, David ben P’nina, Yonatan David ben Miriam, Yehudit bat Israela, Eliyahu ben Avraham, Yosef Nachman ben Yocheved Ashna, Adrienne Brookstone, Avram Isser, Beryl Yosef ben Pinchas Lazer v’ Leah Rachel, David Lieberman, son of Elizabeth and Julian, Priscila de los Ríos Ramírez, Shlomo ben Malka, Jeffrey Shuman, Jeffrey Shuman, Avram ben Elaine.

May the Source of Life bring strength and healing to all who are ill. Amen.


If anyone would like to have the names of their loved ones included here in the newsletter, please write us at

Tribute Cards are available in the office to honor/commemorate your loveones, or for any occasion. Please contact the office for more information: (415) 185-9191

Classes and Events

Check them out on our website:

Ads from our members

Concerts, books, trips.