Download An Island Called Home: Returning to Jewish Cuba by Ruth Behar PDF

By Ruth Behar

Yiddish-speaking Jews inspiration Cuba used to be purported to be an insignificant layover at the trip to the us once they arrived within the island nation within the Twenties. They even known as it “Hotel Cuba.” yet then the years handed, and the numerous Jews who got here there from Turkey, Poland, and war-torn Europe stayed in Cuba. The cherished island ceased to be a inn, and Cuba finally grew to become “home.” yet after Fidel Castro got here to energy in 1959, the vast majority of the Jews adverse his communist regime and left in a mass exodus. even though they remade their lives within the usa, they mourned the lack of the Jewish neighborhood that they had equipped at the island.

As a baby of 5, Ruth Behar used to be stuck up within the Jewish exodus from Cuba. turning out to be up within the usa, she questioned in regards to the Jews who stayed in the back of. Who have been they and why had they stayed? What lines have been left of the Jewish presence, of the cemeteries, synagogues, and Torahs? Who was once caring for this legacy? What Jewish stories had controlled to outlive the years of innovative atheism?

An Island known as Home is the tale of Behar’s trip again to the island to discover solutions to those questions. in contrast to the unique photo projected through the yank media, Behar uncovers a facet of Cuban Jews that's poignant and private. Her relocating vignettes of the contributors she meets are coupled with the delicate photos of Havana-based photographer Humberto Mayol, who traveled with her.

jointly, Behar’s poetic and compassionate prose and Mayol’s shadowy and riveting images create an unforgettable portrait of a neighborhood that many have obvious even though few have understood. This booklet is the 1st to teach either the power and the heartbreak that lie at the back of the undertaking of preserving alive the flame of Jewish reminiscence in Cuba.

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Extra resources for An Island Called Home: Returning to Jewish Cuba

Example text

I was an anthropologist with an aching heart. It was after my Baba died, after years of saying goodbye to her, that I went on the journey that took me from the core of Jewish life in Havana to anthropology at the end of the world with the last Jew in Palma Soriano. How I wish I could have shared these stories with my Baba! Surely had she known it was these stories I would eventually bring back in my suitcases from Cuba, she would not have worried so much about me. I might have made the focus of this book the religious revitalization that has taken place in the Jewish community in Cuba, which is very visible and impressive.

A Socio-Erotic Journey, which originally aired on National Public Radio in 1998. ”18 In my own conversations with several neighbors in Ann Arbor who traveled to the island, what stood out as the allure of Cuba was that the United States wasn’t there, McDonald’s wasn’t there, other Americans weren’t there. Only one place remained in the world where Americans could take short vacations from themselves and learn that it was possible to be happy with less—that place was Cuba. You’d think I would have felt pleased that other Americans were becoming Cuba addicts.

Until I returned and saw it with my own eyes, I wondered if the time my family spent in Cuba was a dream. But the photographs of me playing on our old balcony, walking on the Malecón with my mother, dressed in a school uniform in front of the bus that took me to my preschool at the Centro Israelita, all offered proof that I once had a home on the island. Looking at the old photographs, I wondered what had become of our lost Jewish home in Cuba. qxd:Behar design 7/30/07 2:14 PM Page 14 An Island Called Home of the cemeteries, synagogues, and Torahs?

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