In Search of a Jewish Story in Cuba

Cuban flag against blue sky


Cuyahoga County Public Library — Orange Branch — PRESENTS Irene Shaland’s Lecture

An Island within an Island: In Search of a Jewish Story through 500 Years of Cuban History

 Thursday          March 7th2019                      7:00 PM

Lecture is FREE, but advance registration is recommended. Call 216.832.4282 to register.

The Cuban Jewish storyreflects a struggle for survival through assimilation and acculturation.  It is also based on a narrative depicting not a single community but rather a mosaic of several communities that varied greatly in their languages and cultures, and which was built by five distinctly different waves of Crypto-Jewish and Jewish immigrants.

The contemporary Cuban Jewish narrativedepicts a fascinating trajectory. First, a descent from vibrancy and prosperity to almost oblivion after the mass exodus of the 1960s and direct efforts to destroy the Jewishness during the years of revolutionary atheism. Then, a recent phenomenon: a sudden ascent to becoming a Celebrity of Tropical Diaspora, turning into, arguably, the most visited and photographed of the world’s Jewish communities.

The extraordinary characteristic of the Jewish experience in Cuba one finds todayisthe fundamental sense of community that survived an almost complete dissolution after Castro’s revolution, followed by decades of a totalitarian regime with its poverty, deprivation, and strong anti-Israeli attitudes.

 Take a journey with internationally published art and travel writer Irene Shaland to rediscover this unique island and to learn how Cuba is finding its way back to the future.

 Orange Library Branch, Cuyahoga County Public Library

31975 Chagrin Blvd, Pepper Pike, OH 44124

Synagogue in Havana Cuba

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