In Guantanamo’s Jewish Community: Mission Accomplished

Laura Paull Community, Cuba, Featured, Jewish Life, Travel — By on March 27, 2013 10:27 am

From February 28 to March 8, 2013, the JCCSF sent a group of 16 people to Cuba. It was at least the 12th mission to the island nation and on every trip the JCCSF groups have made contact with the Cuban Jewish communities. This time their visit included the capital city of Havana, but also the southernmost cities of Santiago de Cuba (for the 4th time) and Guantanamo (2nd time). And for the first time in JCCSF history, an executive director, Barry Finestone, joined the excursion.

Thanks to prior participants in the JCCSF tours, the Jewish Community of Guantanamo was able to expand and improve the building in which it has been gathering.

“Now it is bigger, better and more safe,” reports Ariel Goldstein. “It looks fantastic!”

Together with Guantanamo Jewish community president Rodolfo Mizrahi,  the San Francisco visitors installed a plaque on the building. Finestone, Goldstein and Mizrahi  also affixed a new mezuzah in the doorframe; other trip participants put up two more. The plaque read:

La Ampliación de esta sinagoga ha sido posible gracias a la ayuda de los participantes de las misiones organizadas por el Jewish Community Center of San Francisco durante el año 2012.

Guantanamo, Cuba * 3 de marzo de 2013

The English translation reads:

The expansion of this synagogue was made possible thanks to the generosity of the participants on the Cuba missions organized by the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco in 2012.

Guantanamo, Cuba * March 3, 2013

The Jewish community of Guantanamo, the southernmost city on the island, close to the U.S. military base, numbers only 80 known or registered Jews. There are another 30 in nearby Santiago de Cuba. Look for an upcoming multimedia story about another aspect of the JCCSF’s interaction with the Guantanamo community, coming up soon on 3200Stories.

JCCSF Executive Director Barry Finestone,(right) examines the plaque given to the Jewish Community of Guantanamo

JCCSF Executive Director Barry Finestone,(right) and Travel Programs Manager Ariel Goldstein (left) examine the plaque that would be placed on the Jewish Community Center of Guantanamo. Photos/ Ellen Finestone

Installing the mezzuzot on the doorframe of the Guantanamo Jewish community center.

Installing a mezuzah on the doorframe of the Guantanamo Jewish community center.

Ariel, Barry, ____.

Ariel Goldstein, Barry Finestone, and Rodolfo Mizrachi.


The JCCSF travel group and their new Cuban friends in front of the renovated center

The JCCSF group and members of the Guantanamo Jewish community in front of the improved center.

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  1. Jorge Isaías Ascencio says:

    Mazal Tov,

    Que vuestra comunidad siga expandiendoce y tengan muchos exitos, desde san salvador.

    Comunidad B¨nei Israel.

    • Laura Paull Laura Paull says:

      For readers who may not speak Spanish, I offer a quick translation of the above comment: “May your community continue to expand and flourish, from San Salvador.”

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