Although the Castro government discouraged Jews from practicing their faith, Jewish religious schools were the only parochial schools allowed to remain open after the Revolution. The government has always made matzo available and even authorized a kosher butcher shop to supply meat for observant Jews. A renaissance in the Jewish faith is occurring. Synagogues have been refurbished and new ones opened, and the faithful are returning in larger numbers and observing the Shabbath. This may have been encouraged by the aid that many of the Jewish organizations began bringing to support to the community, binding it together.
Habana Vieja’s Jewish quarter features the Sinagoga Adath Israel with a wooden altar carved with scenes from Jerusalem and historic Havana. Nearby is the Parque de Los Hebreos (Calle Acosta esq. Damas), with a giant menorah, the Jewish candelabra. Chevet Achim was built in 1914 and is the oldest synagogue in Cuba. The building is owned and maintained by the Centro Sefardi but is not used. It can be viewed by appointment.
In Vedado, the Casa de la Comunidad Hebrea de Cuba or Patronato, is the Jewish community headquarters. Services at the adjacent Bet Shalon Sinagogo hosts a Holocaust museum.
Guanabacoa, on the east side of Havana harbor, has two Jewish cemeteries. The Cementerio de la Comunidad Religiosa Ashkenazi also known as the United Hebrew Congregation Cemetery, is for Ashkenazim. It is entered by an ocher-colored Spanish-colonial frontispiece with a Star of David. A Holocaust memorial immediately to the left of the gate stands in memory of the millions who lost their lives to the Nazis. Behind the Ashkenazi cemetery is the Cementerio de la Unión Sefardi for Sephardic Jews. It too has a memorial to the Holocaust victims.
Your guide will make all the necessary arrangements for your visit to each location and will request a local member to assist with the history of the local families.
Additionally we will include some local stops of interest to all visitors to Havana.
Departures: 09:00 AM,
Meeting instructions: Specific pick up or taxi instructions will appear on your voucher after you purchase your trip.
Special instructions: - Please dress comfortably.
- We will always request a Jewish guide and will deliver that upon availability. The closer to your tour date that you make this request, the more difficult that will be to accomplish.
- A stop for lunch at a local paladar will be included.