One man’s dream to create a Birthright-style trip for Puerto Rico

(Photo courtesy Matthew Fernandez Konigsberg)
(Photo courtesy Matthew Fernandez Konigsberg)

When Matthew Fernandez Konigsberg isn’t working his day job as an in-house attorney at a large international law firm, he’s actively working within the Puerto Rican and Jewish communities, fighting for the rights of Puerto Ricans and against antisemitism. Over his storied career, which included years as a special counsel for ethics, risk and compliance in the New York State Governor’s Office, he’s held a number of leadership and educator roles within the Jewish and Latino communities, aiming to bridge the divide and support both minority populations in and around New York.

But he still has big dreams. Among the biggest: creating a Birthright-style trip for Puerto Ricans living in the diaspora. Inspired by what Israel has done for young Jews around the world, he envisions a program that would give Puerto Ricans in New York and elsewhere, who’ve never had the chance to visit their homeland, an opportunity to travel, connect with locals and get engaged with the community. Hopefully, that could galvanize political movement among young Puerto Ricans, who could fight for the decolonization of the island.

On today’s episode of Rivkush, The CJN’s podcast about Jews of colour, Matthew joins to discuss his career, the history fo Latino Judaism and how the two communities can help raise each other up.

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Rivkush is hosted by Rivka Campbell. Michael Fraiman is the editor and prodcer. Our theme music is by Westside Gravy. We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network; find more great Jewish podcasts at