Ohev Shalom to present the “Cuban Jewish Diaspora”
Congregation Ohev Shalom will have a special presentation Sunday, Feb. 17 at 11 a.m. in the social hall with special guest professor Marcos Kerbel of Florida International University in Miami leading the program. Local residents Jamie Shujman and Justo Martinez will also contribute their experiences in leaving Cuba at an early age. Both Kerbel and Shujman are Cuban-Jews and Martinez is Catholic and also Cuban born.
A number of interesting facts will be covered such as the history of Jewish life in Cuba, from the early 1900s until the early 1960s and what is happening today. A 27-minute documentary will be shown on the subject. Local Cuban-Americans of other religions who were participants in the Pedro Pan (or Peter Pan) program that brought out over 14,000 youngsters to America in less than two years will also attend.
This Pedro Pan program was implemented as a result of the hard work of then Senator Abraham Ribicoff (1910-1998) of Connecticut, himself the son of Jewish-Russian immigrants, who made the escape of these Cuban youngsters from Castro’s Cuba possible, as a result of his love for freedom and justice. Ribicoff worked secretly with the Catholic Church in South Florida and HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) to bring the 14,000 young Cubans (among them 396 Jewish kids) to the United States.
A brunch and ice cream social will follow the presentation. Cost of admission is only $3 per person. The community is invited to attend.