As Rio di Janeiro prepares to host the summer 2016 Olympics, the city’s local Jewish community is busy with its own preparations.
Ahead of the games, the community will open two Orthodox synagogues to accommodate many of the Jewish visitors coming to the games. The city of Ipanema, best known as a tourist spot for its beautiful beaches, will open the Edmond J. Safra Synagogue and community center. A 20,000 square foot project, it will include study rooms, event halls, libraries and the main Sephardic style shul under the auspices of Rabbi Gabriel Aboutbol.
There is now one small shul that the 1000 Jewish families who live in Ipanema have outgrown. The impetus for the new community center is in fact the large influx of Jews who will attend the games, but it will ultimately continue serve the area’s established Jewish community.
In nearby Copacabana, another of Brazil’s beautiful beach towns, a hotel is in the works to provide kosher accommodations for Jewish visitors from around the world. The Best Western Eretz Copacabana will be managed by Best Western and will be completed in March 2016. The hotel will feature 64 rooms, a shul led by Chabad of Copacabana, and a kosher restaurant.