History of the Jews in Cuba
Jewish Cubans, Cuban Jews, or Cubans of Jewish heritage, have lived on the island of Cuba for centuries. Some Cubans trace Jewish ancestry to Marranos who fled the Spanish Inquisition, though few of these practice Judaism today. There was significant Jewish immigration to Cuba in the first half of the 20th century. Like others, many Jews left Cuba for the United States after the coming of Fidel Castro, and today there is a large community in South Florida. In modern Cuba there are many communities of Middle Eastern descent, including Jewish and Lebanese populations.
The Cuban Coordinating Commission, the official governmental unit for the Jewish Community, recognized 1,201 persons as Jewish in 2001 for the purpose of distributing Passover food.
In February 2007 The New York Times estimated that there are about 1,500 known Jews living in Cuba, most of them (about 1,100) living in Havana. They also state that Cuba has only one kosher butcher shop on the entire island and not a single rabbi, until recently. They now have a Rabbi that is based in one of the Synagogues in Havana and often encourages visiting Jews to give Tzedakah for the Jewish Cubans and for Israel. The article adds, "This small Jewish presence [in 2007] is in stark contrast to the bustling community that existed before Fidel Castro came to power in 1959. In those days, there were 15,000 Jews and five synagogues in Havana alone." Adath Israel is the only Orthodox synagogue in Cuba. On December 2006, the Cuban Jewish community celebrated its 100th anniversary.
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- Jay Levinson, Jewish Community of Cuba: The Golden Years, 1905–1958, Nashhville, TN: Westview Publishing Company, 2005.
- CHAI Missions, Jewish Missions to Cuba
- Miami Herald article: 'JEWBAN' to state: Hands off my plate!
- Mambo mensch: Frank Speiser’s cross-cultural memoir
- 'Havana' article from the new Encyclopaedia Judaica
- Hadassah Magazine: Two-Hyphen Identity
- "The Jews of Cuba" website
- West Palm Jews Visit to Aid Brethren in Cuba by John Lantigua, The Miami Herald, July 15, 2009
- Raul Castro celebrates Hanukkah with Cuban Jews by Paul Haven, Associated Press, December 5, 2010