15 January 2007

Cuban Jewish resources

I came across these Cuban Jewish resources that may be of interest to researchers of both Ashkenazi and Sephardic families.

Among the links is an extensive list of individuals in the Cuban Jewish community, from La Comunidad hebrea de Cuba: La memoria y la historia by Margalit Bejarano (Hebrew University, Jerusalem, 1996). The book is available in the U.S. from the Sephardic Congregation of Florida - Torat Moshe, in Miami Beach.

Here is a long list of Havana Jewish burials, including year of birth, age at death and date of death. Some names: ABAT, ALHADEF, BEHAR, BEREZNIAK, CARMONA, CASTIEL, CHIPRUT, ESQUENAZI, FELDMAN, HERNANDEZ, JURICK, KIRSZEMBAUM, LEVY, MAYA, MITRANI, OJALVO, PEREZ, PITKOWSKA, RABINOVICH, RODRIGUEZ, ROMANO, SEVY, STEINBERG, TARIN, URSIS, YAEVEL, YAGODNIK, ZAPAYO, ZOLONOH.

Click here for information on the Jewish Community of Cuba: The Golden Years 1906-1958 (Westview Publishing 2006) by Dr. Jay Levinson. The years covered by the book began with 1906, when a small group gathered to establish a synagogue and cemetery. Eventually, some 15,000 Jews called Cuba home. Cuba's Jewish history also includes the tragedy of the St. Louis, whose Holocaust-refugee passengers were not allowed to land in Havana (the ship's unfortunate passengers were then turned away by the U.S. as well and forced to return to Europe).

The country's first rabbi travelled from Florida, where he had an ice cream factory, to Santiago de Cuba and Havana. Kosher meat was slaughtered in Cuba for soldiers in the U.S. Army during WWII, and gangster Meyer Lansky applied for membership in a Havana synagogue.

Another book, The Chosen Island: Jews in Cuba (2005) is by Cuban historian Maritza Corrales, who researchs Cuba's Jewish history. Her book includes archival material and interviews with 36 men and women who remained in Cuba after 1959. It also has photographs of the community.

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