JDC Entwine Young Professionals Go Inside Jewish Cuba

Inside Jewish Cuba, JDC Entwine’s just-completed Insider Trip for Young Professionals, gave its 26 participants exclusive insight into Jewish life and what it means to be a young Jew in Cuba today.

The twenty- and thirty-year-olds taking part in this five-day mission came from cities across North America, including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Washington DC, and Houston. The group visited Havana’s historic synagogues and Jewish institutions, and explored what it means to grow Jewish life in a communist nation through an exchange with local young Jewish leaders and community professionals.

Highlights of the trip included celebrating Shabbat at Havana’s Patronato Synagogue together with members of the local community—while taking part, of course, in JDC’s famous Shabbat Chicken Dinner program, and meetings with community leaders, especially the President of the Cuban Jewish Community, Adela Dworkin. And keeping traditional Labor Day activities in mind, the group also spent an enjoyable day at the beach with their local peers.

These reflections from trip participants capture the essence of their experience:

“Not only was [my Shabbat experience] enlightening and heart-warming, but it got many of us discussing our plans to bring Shabbat more into our [own] homes and lives.”

“[From this trip I am taking away] new friends, knowledge of Cuban culture and what Caribbean Jewish life is like, and the challenges they face on a daily basis.”

“[I am] inspired to do more long term.”

“It was really awesome to have so much interaction with the Jewish community.  I didn’t think we could have achieved the understanding of their status without speaking and interacting with them on this level.”

“It was a perfect balance/combination of seeing Cuba, feeling Cuba, and learning about the Jewish community and JDC’s role.”

To learn more about JDC programs in Cuba, visit: www.jdc.org/where-we-work/latin-america-and-caribbean/cuba.html.

To learn more and become involved in Entwine, visit: www.jdc.org/get-involved/entwine.html.

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