Communist Cuba today is undergoing its most dramatic transformation since the early 1990s, when the suspension of Soviet subsidies unraveled the country’s economy, plunging its citizens into dire poverty.
Among the societal changes of these two decades has been the rebirth of religious life—including a Jewish renaissance—encouraged by JDC’s re-entry into Cuba in 1991 to help the community rebuild itself from the ground up and offer its neediest members vital assistance.
Cuba’s Jewish community is centralized in Havana, with smaller, active communities in Camaguey, Cienfuegos, Guantanamo, Sancti Spiritus, Santa Clara, and Santiago de Cuba.
Today, in collaboration with the local Jewish community, JDC:
- Saves Cuba’s poorest Jews by providing medicines to the community pharmacy and Shabbat chicken dinners and holiday food shipments, which offer much-needed nutritional support as well as an opportunity for communal celebration.
- Develops tomorrow’s Jewish leaders by operating the country’s only Jewish Sunday School, equipping Jewish educators to teach religious studies to the next generation, and training local Jews to lead religious services.
- Revitalizes Jewish life by bringing in a visiting rabbi to conduct life cycle events; operating informal education activities such as camp programs and Israeli dance festivals; and facilitating Jewish holiday celebrations.
Find out how Marlen became one of the community’s hallmark women leading the way for Cuban Jews with JDC’s training and support.
DID YOU KNOW?
- JDC’s Shabbat chicken dinners are attended by some 400 people across the island every week.
- 160 children and adults attend weekly Jewish education classes.