Beth El Temple sponsoring trip to Cuba
Published: Thursday, September 27, 2012, 10:09 AM Updated: Thursday, September 27, 2012, 10:10 AM
Over the years, Beth El Temple has sponsored trips to unique destinations.
Now, the conservative synagogue is planning a spring trip to Cuba, home to a small but spiritually robust Jewish community surviving more than 50 years after Castro’s Communist revolution.
The trip, scheduled April 9-17, will be part humanitarian mission to Cuban Jews and part sightseeing to Havana, Santa Clara, Cienfuegos and Trinidad de Cuba.
Cuba has about 1,500 Jews, with the majority living in Havana and attending three synagogues. The Conservative Beth Shalom houses the Jewish Community Center and a Jewish library.
Adath Israel is the Orthodox congregation. Centro Sefaradi has a shall chapel for services and offers a Jewish senior center and various classes. About 100 other Jewish families live in Santiago de Cuba and Guantanamo.
“There have been many restrictions for travel to Cuba,” said Michael Schatz, Beth El Temple executive director. “This humanitarian mission to the struggling Jewish communities in Cuba is really one of the few ways that we can reach out to these people.”
Gail Siegel and Paul Latchford have been working on arrangements for the trip to Cuba. They said that each mission participant is required to bring 15 pounds of basic staples, medicines and Jewish educational materials to donate to the Jewish communities of Cuba.
The trip includes seven nights and eight days in Cuba with one night in Miami, hotel accommodations, meals, meetings, lecture fees, entrance fees to sites and more.
Participants will attend Friday night services and a Shabbat dinner with representatives of the Havana Jewish community, Sabbath services and a meeting later in the trip with Jews in a private home in Santiago de Cuba.
Registration for the trip and the $300 per person deposit is due by Oct. 15.
For more information, go to www.betheltemplehbg.org. Click on Events and Cuba 2013.