By Ruth Behar
Yiddish-speaking Jews concept Cuba used to be purported to be a trifling layover at the trip to the USA after they arrived within the island state within the Twenties. They even referred to as it “Hotel Cuba.” yet then the years handed, and the various Jews who got here there from Turkey, Poland, and war-torn Europe stayed in Cuba. The liked island ceased to be a inn, and Cuba finally turned “home.” yet after Fidel Castro got here to energy in 1959, the vast majority of the Jews antagonistic his communist regime and left in a mass exodus. although they remade their lives within the usa, they mourned the lack of the Jewish neighborhood that they had equipped at the island.
As a toddler of 5, Ruth Behar used to be stuck up within the Jewish exodus from Cuba. starting to be up within the usa, she questioned in regards to the Jews who stayed in the back of. Who have been they and why had they stayed? What strains have been left of the Jewish presence, of the cemeteries, synagogues, and Torahs? Who used to be caring for this legacy? What Jewish stories had controlled to outlive the years of innovative atheism?
An Island referred to as Home is the tale of Behar’s trip again to the island to discover solutions to those questions. in contrast to the unique picture projected via the yank media, Behar uncovers an aspect of Cuban Jews that's poignant and private. Her relocating vignettes of the participants she meets are coupled with the delicate pictures of Havana-based photographer Humberto Mayol, who traveled with her.
jointly, Behar’s poetic and compassionate prose and Mayol’s shadowy and riveting photos create an unforgettable portrait of a neighborhood that many have obvious even though few have understood. This e-book is the 1st to teach either the energy and the heartbreak that lie at the back of the undertaking of retaining alive the flame of Jewish reminiscence in Cuba.
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Yiddish-speaking Jews proposal Cuba was once purported to be a trifling layover at the trip to the USA after they arrived within the island state within the Twenties. They even known as it “Hotel Cuba. ” yet then the years handed, and the numerous Jews who got here there from Turkey, Poland, and war-torn Europe stayed in Cuba.
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Extra info for An Island Called Home: Returning to Jewish Cuba
Steven Spielberg, the Hollywood filmmaker, felt compelled to visit with the Jews while in Havana for a festival of his films in 2002. ” He added the words “Thank you” before signing his name, as if to express his gratitude to the Jews in Cuba for simply existing. . And yet even with many eyes gazing at them, the Jews of Cuba remain mysterious. I have spent fifteen years catching glimpses of their lives and still can’t claim I fully know them. But to speak of “the Jews of Cuba” is ostentatious, for the community is miniature and in continual flux.
Qxd:Behar design 7/30/07 2:14 PM Page 14 An Island Called Home of the cemeteries, synagogues, and Torahs? Who was taking care of this legacy? What Jewish memories had managed to survive the years of revolutionary atheism? What had become of the handful of Jews who stayed on the island? Who were they? Why had they chosen to stay? But whenever I expressed my interest, my mother would say, “If they stayed in Cuba, it’s because they’re comunistas. ” She uttered that word, comunistas, with anger and venom, but also a touch of fear.
Miller believed that a Jewish revival could happen in Cuba with the assistance of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC). S. 19 But even a charismatic leader like Miller didn’t foresee the full impact that the presence of “el Joint”—as Cubans call the JDC—would have in Cuba. By the time of Miller’s death in 2006, the Jewish community would completely reinvent itself. From a withering community, it would be transformed into a showcase for the “miracle” of Jewish survival in Castro’s Cuba.
An Island Called Home: Returning to Jewish Cuba by Ruth Behar