Tag Archives: Brazilian Jews

Jew of the Week: Moshe Kai

Moshe Kai Cavalin (b. 1998) was born in Los Angeles, the son of a Taiwanese mother and an Israeli-Brazilian father. He started speaking at 4 months of age, and was reading and doing math by 3. At 6, he was rejected from elementary school because he “knew more than the teacher”, and had to be home-schooled. At 8, he became the youngest person in American history to take college classes. He got his first degree three years later, with a perfect 4.0 GPA. He then enrolled at UCLA – with a full scholarship – and earned a BS in mathematics. Meanwhile, Kai wrote two bestselling books (an inspirational autobiography, and a manual to deal with bullying). For fun, he scuba dives, plays piano, and chess, and avoids video games which, he says, are “not helping humanity in any way.” He is also an avid martial artist – thanks to his father, a former IDF special forces commando – and has won 26 gold medals. Incredibly, Kai got a pilot’s license, too. This led to a phone call from NASA in 2015. NASA needed a pilot who also knew math, physics, and computer programming to develop surveillance and anti-collision technology for drones and airplanes. Kai has been at NASA ever since, working hard to keep the skies safe. He is concurrently doing his Master’s in cybersecurity, and intends to later get a Master’s in business from MIT before opening his own cybersecurity company. Kai describes himself as a religious person and often credits God with giving him the insight to solve problems. One of his professors once said: “I think most people just think he’s a genius, they believe it just comes naturally… He actually worked harder than, I think, any other student I’ve ever had.”

Words of the Week

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.
Albert Einstein

Kai at age 10 with his menorah; and more recently with his martial arts trophies

Make your Shavuot night-learning meaningful with the Arizal’s ‘Tikkun Leil Shavuot’, a mystical Torah-study guide, now in English and Hebrew, with commentary.

Jew of the Week: Carlos Arthur Nuzman

2016 Olympic Games

Carlos Arthur Nuzman (Credit: Wilson Dias)

Carlos Arthur Nuzman (Credit: Wilson Dias)

Carlos Arthur Nuzman (b. 1942) was born in Rio de Janeiro, the grandson of Russian-Jewish immigrants to Brazil. His father was very active in the Jewish community, and served as the president of the Rio Jewish Federation. As a child, Nuzman started playing volleyball at the Brazilian Israelite Club. At 15, he began playing the sport professionally. A few years later, he made it to Brazil’s national team, and competed at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. He also participated in four Maccabiah Games in Israel. Meanwhile, Nuzman studied in law school and became a successful lawyer in Brazil. In 1975, he became the president of the Brazilian Volleyball Confederation, a post he held for twenty years until he moved up to become the president of the Brazilian Olympic Committee. Since 2012, he has been in charge of organizing the 2016 Olympic Games in his hometown of Rio de Janeiro, which begin tomorrow. He has made sure that there is a large Jewish presence in these games, hiring two fellow Brazilian Jews as CEO and deputy CEO of the Committee, and ensuring there will be a ceremony to honour the Israeli terror victims of the 1972 Munich Olympics. Nuzman has also hired Israeli firm ISDS, who will be working with some 30 other Israeli companies to provide security and logistics for these Olympics. His nephew is a rabbi at one of Rio’s largest synagogues, which will be hosting a special Shabbaton for over 300 guests during the Olympic Games. In 2007, Nuzman was inducted into the Volleyball Hall of Fame.

Words of the Week

A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.
– Charles Darwin