Schoolchildren with teacher
Schoolchildren with teacheriStock

Donations to a Brazilian scholarship campaign to benefit Jewish students collected $4.1 million in three days.

More than 3,000 donors contributed Oct. 5-7 to assists students from the 15 Jewish schools in Sao Paulo.

“Everyone was highly committed, including synagogues, schools, member of Orthodox and Liberal communities, all of them talking, meeting, and respecting each other,” the president of the Sao Paulo Jewish federation, Luiz Kignel, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “We are setting an example of community living and we should be proud of our community.”

Donors, known in the campaign as matchers, included the Jewish-Brazilian billionaire businessmen and philanthropist Elie Horn. Thanks to generous matchers, each donated real — the Brazilian currency, worth about a quarter to the US dollar — was eventually multiplied by four.

“There is no nobler act in Judaism than providing Jewish study for the new generation,” Horn said.

The Charidy Scholarship Fund aims to provide formal Jewish education for those with economic need. Supported by the Sao Paulo Jewish federation and other institutions, the fund was created in 2016 as an independent entity to manage the scholarships.

Some 1,900 Jewish students, or 40 percent of the 4,800 who attend Jewish schools, count on the support to pay monthly tuitions of up to $1,500.

Sao Paulo is home to half of Brazil’s Jewish community of 120,000. In 2018, a record 700 Brazilian Jews moved to Israel, according to the Jewish Agency, due to quality of life, urban violence and a longtime economic crisis in the South American nation.