JTA – The Latin American Jewish Congress elected Argentine businessman Adrian Werthein president.
Werthein was elected April 23 at the World Jewish Congress’ Plenary Assembly in New York City to succeed Jack Terpins, who has led the organization since 2001 and became its first honorary president. An adviser to Terpins, Werthein is the first Argentine to head the Latin American Jewish Congress, a branch of the World Jewish Congress, in 20 years.
The Latin American group, which represents 21 Jewish communities, has its headquarters in Buenos Aires. Its last Argentine president was Ruben Beraja in 1998.
President Mauricio Macri of Argentina, which has the largest Jewish population in Latin America, sent Werthein a letter of congratulations, calling his election an “excellent opportunity to strength the ties between Argentina and international Jewish organizations.”
Werthein, 65, is a member of a large family with a long history of involvement in business and social activities. The family is involved in supporting Jewish charitable organizations, including Tzedaka and ORT Argentina. He is a former president of the Israel-Argentina Chamber of Commerce and has been a member of the University of Tel Aviv’s board of governors since 1977.
Werthein led the $4 billion debt restructuring process of Telecom and currently serves as a board member of the Buenos Aires Stock Exchange.
The family business started in 1904 by an immigrant who arrived from Bessarabia and opened a little store in the country called “The Hebrew.” Today, the Werthein Group has interests in agriculture and livestock, mass consumption, telecommunications, real estate, financial services, wineries and energy, among other areas.