08 January 2010

Virginia: Jews of Cuba, Jan. 13

"The Jews of Cuba: The Road to Paradise and the Land We Called Home" is a program by Cuban Jewish expert Miriam Levinson on Wednesday, January 13.

The program begins at 7.30pm at the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia, at 8900 Little River Turnpike. Fee: JCC members, $8; others, $10.

Levinson's grandfather set out for the US in 1927 but arrived in Cuba, where the family lived for three decades. More than 15,000 Jews lived there in the 20th century and until the revolution, it was considered a tropical Jewish paradise. Sephardim and Ashkenazim lived side by side.

After the revolution, when Castro came to power, most of the Jews left Cuba - many to Miami.

Born in Cuba, Levinson came to the US with her family in the late 1950s. A Chicago resident, she heads the Jewish Community Center Travel Department and speaks on international Jewish life.

Additionally, the JCCNV is organizing two Jewish missions to Cuba (February 10-18, April 21-28), and Levinson will escort both trips.

Check out the JCCNV site. Tracing the Tribe noted genealogical/historical interest to Jewish historical sites, talks on the Jews of Azerbaijan, Jews of the South and more, besides the active calendar of other services.

For more resources on Jewish life in Cuba, search Tracing the Tribe for previous posts. Don't forget about the work of filmmaker and author Ruth Behar. Adio Kerida follows her on a search for Cuban-American Sephardic memories. Her books are "An Island Called Home: Returning to Jewish Cuba" and The Vulnerable Observer: Anthropology that Breaks Your Heart.

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