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April 17th, 2022

Brazilian premiere of Urban Orishas with concert by Bia Schneider. Casa Artes, Florianopolis

Orixás urbanos: Múltiplas religiões, uma só voz
No show será exibido o filme curta metragem “Urban Orishas”, com Luz Castañeda, que é dirigido por Alex Minkin, pesquisador americano que analisa as relações entre espiritismo, umbanda e judaísmo.
Alex concilia arte e ciência e transforma seu olhar antropológico em obras que instigam e envolvem, revelando o oculto. Bia Schneider, ao dar voz musical ao etéreo, percebe-se como como coautora neste ritual. Traços que unem as diferentes preces transparecem nesta musicalidade que ultrapassa as fronteiras do tempo.

Beatriz Schneider é cantora e compositora, que investiga as múltiplas expressões musicais presentes nas manifestações religiosas. Ela dá voz aos ritmos que se encontram na umbanda, no espiritismo e no judaísmo, revelando linhas melódicas inusitadas e inspiradoras.

October 10th, 2021

10:30 AM São Paulo time

Contemporary Judaism: Interactions

cartazFacebook link

Tuesday, September 8, 2020, 6 p.m.

Queens Public Library and Alex Minkin present (Facebook Live): Brazilian Jewish Spirits


Why would a poor Jewish spirit want to possess someone in Brazil, with its heat and inflation? Since 2012, cultural anthropologist Alex Minkin has conducted research in order to answer this question, exploring the origins and nature of spirits of Jewish rebels, sages, and prostitutes in Brazilian religions—Spiritism and Umbanda. With professor Andrea Kogan (author of Brazilian bestseller ‘Espiritismo Judaico’/’Jewish Spiritism’), Padrinho Jonathan Goldman (, filmmaker Larissa Figueiredo (, Umbanda medium and singer Beatriz Schneider and Yiddish Brazilian songwriter Rosa Morena Russa (

Links to further reading:

Jewish history is reflected in Brazilian popular culture and religions: from Portuguese Crypto-Jews of 16th and 17th centuries to Moroccan Jewish Amazon rubber boom workers of the late 19th century, and Eastern European immigrants of the 20th century. While the number of Jewish spirits in Umbanda and Spiritism is relatively small, their histories offer a unique channel to an understanding of Brazilian mysticism and the society’s attitude to the Jews. This online presentation features interviews with mediums, religious leaders, artists, scholars, and filmmakers, as well as video fragments from spirit possession ceremonies and music performances. In the words of Andrea Kogan, ‘there’s a line of spirits on the other side waiting to talk to us’.


Thursday, May 21, 2020, 7 p.m.

flyer2Andrea Kogan and Alex Minkin discuss Jewish themes in Kardecism and Umbanda

Brazilian Endowment for the Arts (240 E 52nd St.), Manhattan

Free entrance.

Thursday, January 16, 2020, 8 p.m.

Shane Baker, Nicole Borger: Sholem Aleichem and Mark Warshawsky


8PM| $20 facebook
Verus | 346 west 72nd street, Manhattan

Following its premiere in São Paulo December 2019, Shane Baker (US) and Nicole Borger (Brazil) perform Sholem Aleichem and Mark Warshawsky sketches and songs for one night only in Verus on Upper West Side.

In 1890 Mark Warshawsky met with Sholem Aleichem. After listening to his songs, Sholem Aleichem wrote “I simply hugged him and kissed him!”

Together Sholem Aleichem and Warshawsky started to tour around Russia performing their own repertoire. They also had plans to travel to the United States, however, those plans were left unfulfilled as Warshawsky suddenly became ill and died on November 26, 1907.

As director of the Congress for Jewish Culture, The New York Times dubbed Shane Baker “one of the most prominent proponents of Yiddish theater, language and culture in New York.” He has played Vladimir in his own Yiddish translation of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot both Off-Broadway and internationally; and has also appeared Off-Broadway in co-creations with Allen Lewis Rickman: Tevye Served Raw and The Big Bupkis!

Nicole Borger is a Brazilian singer and songwriter who lives in São Paulo, Brazil. Nicole’s fusion of traditional Brazilian and Yiddish music is “exquisitely crafted in affecting gesture and melismatic beauty”, according to World Music Report. She has released six albums, the latest – Raízes/Roots – launched in 2015, was produced by Frank London, a member of the Grammy award winning band The Klezmatics.

Nicole is also part of the organizing committee of Yiddish New York festival and is the creator and executive director of the Jewish Music Institute of Brazil, IMJBr, and the producer of Kleztival – the biggest South American Jewish Music Festival, which, in 2019, celebrated its 10th anniversary.

Drawing on the right of the flyer: Oyfn Pripetchik, Lasar Segall (Brazil)

Monday, September 16, 2019, 6:00 p.m.

Ticún Brasil at NYPL – Nicole Borger – Yiddish Songs in South America

Saturday, September 14, 2019, 8:00 p.m.

Nicole Borger in Concert (Verus)


Thursday, June 20, 2019, 6:30 p.m.


Ticún Brasil at NYPL: Brazilian Jewish History Documentary The Rock and the Star with Kátia Mesel, film director

Tuesday, April 2, 2019, 6:30 p.m.

Mid-Manhattan Library at 42nd Street, Program Room, Manhattan, NY




Result of the decades of research, this documentary tells the story of the first Jewish colony in the Americas, in Recife, Brazil, at the time of and after the Inquisition.

Throughout the 16th century and especially during the Dutch colonial presence in Brazil, Recife was the most important city of the New World, due to its safe and welcoming harbor, and its proximity to Europe. For a long time it was the only place that offered religious freedom for Jews fleeing the Inquisition. There, in Recife, they founded the first synagogue in the Americas.

Part of this film traces the history of the Jews from Recife to the Port of New Amsterdam, where 23 of them arrived in 1654 to establish the first Jewish community in North America

Screening of The Rock and the Star marks Kátia Mesel’s 50-year film career. A pioneer of the cinema in the state of Pernambuco, Katia Mesel has created more than 300 audiovisual works.

Katia researched and filmed in Brazil, USA, Holland, France, Spain, Portugal and Curaçao. The film includes more than 30 interviews, 20 historical reconstructions, 1000+ still photos and drawings.

Presented by NYPL and Tícun Brasil.

February 20th, 2019, 19:00

University of Sergipe, Aracaju |facebook


February 17th, 2019, 10:00

Hebraica, Sao Paulo | facebook

Andrea Kogan and Alex Minkin discuss Jewish themes in Kardecism and Umbanda



October 11th, 2018, 13:30

Judeus em Espiritismo e Umbanda: de Entidades a Adeptos

Simpósio Internacional e 16. Nacional da ABHRUFSC em Florianópolis.

facebook | more info


October 9th, 2018, 20:00

From Spirits to Worshipers: Jews in Kardecism and Umbanda

Midrash, Rio de Janeiro | facebook


August 17th,  2018

Trip to Yiddishland: The Meeting of Jewish and Brazilian Cultures


April 2018

Facebook info

Tícun Brasil’s presentation at the International Congress of Anthropology and History of Religion (Recife, Brazil)




February 14, 2018 6:30 PM
Jewish Spirits in Afro-Brazilian Religions

New York Public Library, Manhattan
Program Room, 42nd St. and 5th Avenue.


January 8, 2018, 10:30AM

The Meeting of Jewish and Brazilian Culture

The Workmen Circle, Manhattan



HÍBRIDOS World Tour 2017


photo from Vincent Moon interview to Italian site Lifegate

HÍBRIDOS in-depth research includes audiovisual recordings for over 60 different ceremonies all around the country for the past 3 years. From Candomblé in Bahia to the new forms of Umbanda in Minas Gerais, from the biggest catholic manifestation in the world in Belém do Pará to indigenous ancestral rituals in Acre the audiovisual collection showcases an incredible array of cultural diversity and constantly evolving ritualistic forms. The project is as well a research into the forms of cinema today, and how to ‘represent the invisible’

It’s been a pleasure for Ticún Brasil to collaborate on several films from this project. Special thanks to marvelous Ticún team: Carol Desoti,  Alex Minkin, Pierre Ajub, Roberta Manaa, Caroline Albaini, Alanna Souto, Tamera Vinhas, Pedro Gualberto, Lidiane Souza, Angélica Nascimento. Daniel Furrer and Léo Melo!

September 28, 2017

Tícun Brasil at Pan-American Cultural Symposium at Brazilian Endowment for the Arts (240 E 52nd St.), Manhattan


Brazilian – Cuban Popular Arts Symposium at BEA, New York, September 2017

18h Dr. Domício Coutinho, opening remarks
18h10min Myths and Representations in Umbanda, Yoruba and Conga Traditions, Alex Minkin, Ticún Brasil, Prof Yanna Elsa Brugal, Havana University, Cuba. Mediator Prof. João N. Neto, Columbia University

18h50min History / Capoeira – Presentation by Prof. Luciano A. Tosta, University of Kansas.

19h20min Cordel Literature, Presentation Prof. Mark Curran, Arizona State University
20h Debate with Professors Mark Curran, Arizona University;
Yanna Elsa Brugal, Havana University, Cuba; Luciano Tosta, University of Kansas; Professor Daniel Dawson,
Columbia University; Alex Minkin, Ticún Brasil;
Mediators: Liza Papi and João N. Neto

20h20min Q & A open to the public
20h30min Cocktails

Free Admission

Simpósio Cultural Pan-Americano de Literatura, cinema, música e tradições culturais, de 28 de setembro 2017, Nova York.
Pan American Cultural Symposium on Literature, Film, Music and Cultural Traditions, September 28, 2017, New York.
Mesa Redonda sobre a Cultura Popular Brasileira e os Mitos da América Latina
Local: Biblioteca Brasileira, the Brazilian Endowment for the Arts
18h30min – Professor Domicio Coutinho, boas vindas aos convidados.
18h40min – Debate com os professores Mark Curran, Ph.D. Arizona University; Yanna
Elsa Brugal, Ph.D., Havana University, Cuba; Luciano Tosta,Ph.D. University of Kansas;Daniel Dawson, Ph.D. Columbia University; Alex Minkin, fundador da Ticún Brasil; Marcos Antonio Alexandre, Ph.D. New York University.
19h40min – Q & A aberto ao público.
20h – Fechamento com coquetel.

facebook / program pdf


September 13, 2017
Captured by the Spirit: Reflections on Trance Experience

Steve Dalachinsky, poetry | Aaron Novik, clarinet | Vincent Moon, films |

Asmaa Guedira, words | Konstantine Lunarine, photography

Collective exploration and reflection on the Experience of Trance


Steve Dalachinsky reads his poetry at Captured by the Spirit event

September 7, 2017

Jewish Spirits in Afro-Brazilian Religions

Forest Hills Library, New York | facebook posters (English/Portuguese)



Dedicated to Brazilian Independence Day, this multi-media presentation looked at interaction of Jewish and Brazilian cultures through the lenses of  Umbanda, Afro-Brazilian spirit possession religion. While Americans and Europeans drew inspiration from alternative spirituality of India and Tibet, Brazilians found a native mystical blend of Umbanda.  Spirits of Jewish rebels, sages and prostitutes have its particular place in Umbanda mythology: Jewish rebels refuse the oppression of dominant religions,  rabbis invoke mystical forces of Kabbalah, and Polish-Jewish prostitutes offer advice on love affairs in Yiddish. Each of these characters can be traced to a specific wave of Jewish immigration to Brazil: from Portuguese Crypto Jews of 16th and 17th centuries and Moroccan Jewish Amazon rubber boom workers of late 19th century, to Eastern European immigrants of the 20th century.  

The presentation included excerpts from video footage of Umbanda spirit possession ceremonies and Brazilian films with Jewish themes.


May 2017
Equipe de Tícun Brasil visitaram o São Luís e Codó, MA, Brasil nos dias 12 a 21 de maio/2017 para estudar as origens da Umbanda, explorando o Terecô, o Tambor da Mata, Tambor de Mina e as variações locais da Umbanda.


Latin American Cultural Symposium, November 2016


Read our article at Sounds and Colours

Also, interview at

November 11, 6.30PM at Brazilian Endowment for the Arts  (240 E 52nd St.)

Presented by Alex Minkin.  Lecture on Ciganos (Gypsy) ceremonies in Brazilian Umbanda religion is based on Ticún’s research in Brazil and includes original ritual videos. 



Professor Liza Renia Papi, guitarist Tony Romano, president of Brazilian Endowment for the Arts – Dr. Domício Coutinho, tap dancer Felipe Galganni, president of Ticún Brasil – Alex Minkin

Ticún presents: Marcos Campello and Okkyung Lee

August 6th, 2016 | 6.30PM at Brazilian Endowment for the Arts  (240 E 52nd St.)
A member of a leading Rio de Janeiro free-rock band Chinese Cookie Poets Marcos Campello (guitar) performs with one of the most creative free improvisers in New York Okkyung Lee (cello).


Candomblé in Cannes

May 25th, 2016 | 6.30PM at Brazilian Endowment for the Arts (240 E 52nd St.)
Afro-Brazilian spiritual symbolism in Keeper of Promises, Brazilian winner of Palme d’Or in Cannes (1962). Intro talk by Alex Minkin.

Umbanda in Counterculture

April 20th, 2016, 6.30 PM at Brazilian Endowment for the Arts  Details
Ticún present US Priemiere of Yorimatã (Brazil, 2014)
Intro talk by Alex Minkin and Francine Cohen.

During the decades of authoritarian military dictatorship that ruled Brazil from mid-sixties to mid-eighties many artists and intellectuals, including Luhli and Lucina, joined hippie communities to reinvent society, art and spirituality. This period also coincided with global wave of counterculture and spiritual renewal based on ancient religions. While Americans and Europeans drew inspiration for alternative lifestyles from India and Tibet, Brazilians had native mystical blend of Umbanda. Magic, music, dances and songs of Umbanda allowed its practitioners to escape from hypocrisy of the mainstream and provided tools for spiritual and artistic self-discovery and expression.


Francine Cohen of Avuá Cachaça opens Umbanda in Counterculture

Inheritance of a Story November 23, 2013, 6.30 PM at Brazilian Endowment for the Arts (240 E 52nd St.)

Three New York artists: Anya Roz, Tanya Levina and Yuliya Levit, juxtaposed with poetic prose of Clarice Lispector, mystical Brazilian writer of Jewish-Ukrainian descent.

I keep looking, looking. Trying to understand. Trying to give what I have gone through to someone else, and I don’t know who, but I don’t want to be alone with that experience. – Clarice Lispector November 24th, 2013

Clarice Lispector was born in the same part of Ukraine responsible for the birth of Hasidism and her work was shaped by the same experience of historical rupture and trauma that produced the great Jewish mystics. She became a national icon of Brazil whose face adorned postage stamps. Read more about her in this Tablet magazine article. This show was a multimedia exploration of the tales of strangers in the strange lands – recurrent narratives of Jewish diaspora. Clarice Lispector’s works were recited by renowned avant-garde poet Steve Dalachinsky:
The opening reception also featured a musical performance by an Israeli-American violinist, singer and composer Efrat Shapira. Clarice Lispector

Ultimate Nomads: History and Music of Sephardic Diaspora

Ticun at Brazilian Endowment

May 7, 2013, 6.30 PM at Brazilian Endowment for the Arts (240 E 52nd St.) COJECO’s BluePrint Fellowship alumni joined Ticún Brasil for an evening of cultural exchange: young professionals from Russian-speaking Jewish and South American Jewish communities in New York got to know each other’s history, music, and food. We were joined by the special guest, Gerard Edery (“master of Sephardic song“, The New York Times).
Screening of the documentary on history of converted Jews in Brazil was introduced by Rabbi Mendy Weitman from São Paulo, spiritual leader of The Jewish Latin Center in New York and Alex Minkin, director of Ticún Brasil: On April 12, 2013 the Portuguese parliament passed legislation facilitating the naturalization of descendants of 16th-century Sephardic Jews who fled because of religious persecution. Jews in Portugal were forced to convert and were henceforth known as New Christians or Marrano. As the power and pressure of the Inquisition grew in Portugal, the newly discovered land of Brazil became a favorite destination for Jewish converts to Catholicism, far from the Inquisition. Ultimate Nomads

Jews helped build the sugar industry, roads, bridges, and a basic sewage system  and were a fundamental part of Brazil’s cultural melting pot. In 1636 in Recife on Brazil’s northeastern coast Sephardic Jews opened the first synagogue in the Americas.

With researchers, scholars and members of the Marrano community as guides, this visual journey through exotic Brazil–its sights, sounds and people give the viewer insight into a chapter of history that has been hidden for too long.

The BluePrint Fellowship Alumni Projects are part of the Center Without Walls project of COJECO, sponsored by the UJA-Federation of New York and Genesis Philanthropy Group. logo5  

Panorama of Brazilian Arts

October 19th, 2012 at Brazilian Endowment for the Arts in New York. Ticún Brasil cooperated with Lasar Segall Museum in São Paulo to present overview of Lasar Segall’s paintings. With live performance of guitar virtuoso João Kouyoumdjian, readings from João Cabral de Melo Neto, the greatest figure of the golden age of Brazilian poetry, and paintings by contemporary Brazilian artists Gustavo Braga, Alcinda Saphira, Rene Nascimento, Antonio Oliveira and Marcos Amaro.

João Kouyoumdjian performs at Panorama of Brazilian Art. Photo by Gustavo Braga

Lasar Segall (July 21, 1891 – August 2, 1957) was a Brazilian Jewish painter, engraver and sculptor born in Lithuania who created his own modernist style, which combined Cubism, Futurism, and melancholic Expressionism. Mario de Andrade (1893-1945), a famous Brazilian writer and art critic, wrote about the artist’s work: “L. Segall absorbs the world around him. The faces in his works exude a deep archaic beauty. Whether he painted a meditating Rabbi or an Indian woman, in his hands they became Humankind and the secret embodying it.”

Umbanda in Multimedia

Umbanda in Multimedia

Ticún Brasil’s event Umbanda in Multimedia supported religious freedom with Afro-Brazilian photo exhibit and live performances on September 26, 2012 at FB Gallery of Brazilian art in New York.

Orfeu Negro

Ticún Brasil’s exhibit called Orfeu Negro took place from May 10th to May 13th, 2012 at FB Gallery.

Photo by Alexander Rachkovskiy

The event aimed to promote volunteering in Brazil and raise funds to support after school and day care programs ran by União de Mulheres Pró-melhoramentos da Roupa Suja – Union of Women for the Improvement of Roupa Suja (UMPMRS). See media coverage of the event below: BRAZIL NYC: “The main challenge was not to fall into stereotypes about Rio de Janeiro. Too often, the city is shown as either a paradise in the hills, or a city of contrasts, or a very violent and depressing place. Works that we display at the exhibit this week are distinctive with poetic immediacy and honesty of an insider.” Article on Orfeu Negro artist Leo Lima was published at the largest website in Portuguese speaking world (UOL). “I want my photographs to be known as artistic and political. Art for the art sake could be reflective, but lacks the political power of transformation. I’m not neutral, I have my politics and my photography has this bias and critical questioning. These are records of many lives that exist but never shown’ – Leo Lima:

Photo by Elena Zavelev

HEEB Magazine: “Orfeu Negro Photography Exhibit reminded me of feelings I’ve had about the Jewish people in general: A little loud and uncomfortable, but very culturally interesting.”

Photo by Elena Zavelev

“A mostra está sendo realizada pela Ticún Brasil, uma organização judaica que fornece suporte a voluntários no Brasil, e ensina inglês, arte e fotografia à crianças em favelas e regiões de periferia”


Zohar and Umbanda – Photo – Alex Minkin

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