What Life Is Like for Jews in Cuba

Now that Americans can easily visit the “Latin paradise,” I jumped at the opportunity to see first-hand the reality of life for its few remaining Jews. It isn’t pretty.

Salomon Gonte Leyderman, 83, and other Cuban Jews enter the Beth Shalom synagogue on December 29, 2006 in Havana. Sven Creutzmann/Mambo Photo/Getty Images.
Salomon Gonte Leyderman, 83, and other Cuban Jews enter the Beth Shalom synagogue on December 29, 2006 in Havana. Sven Creutzmann/Mambo Photo/Getty Images.
Observation
May 11 2017
About the author

Dovid Margolin is an associate editor at Chabad.org, where he writes on Jewish life around the world, with a particular interest in Russian Jewish history.


Less than four hours from New York by plane, the dreamy island destination of Cuba—fabled home to vintage American cars, Hemingway mojitos, and charming pastel-colored buildings, and so long closed off to the average American—is easy to get to today. I landed in Havana on the December 2016 day when Fidel Castro’s ashes were buried in the city of Santa Clara, the culmination of nine days of state-imposed, nation-wide mourning.

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More about: Cuba, Politics & Current Affairs, The Jewish World