Argentinian rabbi wins seat in National Congress

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — Rabbi Sergio Bergman won a seat on Argentina’s National Congress, the first time a rabbi has served as a national lawmaker.

Bergman – from the center-right PRO party- garnered 34.5 percent of the vote, slightly more than second-place finisher Elisa Carrio of the center-left UNEN party, who finished with 32.2 percent.

MERS Goodwill ad

Bergman, who will represent Buenos Aires City in the Lower House of the National Congress, spoke nearly two hours after the polls closed on Sunday evening, thanking his supporters and the voters in his district.

“We were selected to improve the country as we did before in the city, we were selected to protect the law and the Constitution,” Bergman told journalists.

Bergman, who previously served as a municipal lawmaker in Buenos Aires City for the PRO party, is founder of the Judaica Foundation, a network which includes synagogues, educational institutions, social programs, charitable funds, a gay alliance and rural farms. In May, 2013 he received the Micah Award from the World Union of Progressive Judaism at its 36th International Convention in Jerusalem, recognizing his commitment to tikkun olam and for his leadership in Latin America.

The senior rabbi of the traditional Congregacion Israelita Argentina, he 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 Buenos Aires.

The PRO party is the ruling party in Buenos Aires city and PRO leader Mauricio Macri, the incumbent mayor of Buenos Aires, on Sunday announced that he will be a candidate for the presidency in 2015 elections.

Bergman’s political future will be linked to Macri’s performance in 2015 according to analysts.