What Life Is Like for Jews in Cuba

Posted on May 21st, 2017
Dovid Margolin for Mosaic
Now that Americans can easily visit the “Latin paradise,” I jumped at the opportunity to see first-hand the reality of life for its few remaining Jews. It isn’t pretty.

Less than four hours from New York by plane, the dreamy island destination of Cuba—fabled home to vintage American cars, Hemingway mojitos, and charming pastel-colored buildings, and so long closed off to the average American—is easy to get to today. I landed in Havana on the December 2016 day when Fidel Castro’s ashes were buried in the city of Santa Clara, the culmination of nine days of state-imposed, nation-wide mourning.

For generations of leftists, Havana’s fading glory—so unlike the austere grayness of the former Communist eastern bloc—carried a special allure; Cuba under Castro, wrote the late French historian François Furet, “represented a Latin paradise and communitarian warmth.” Now that Americans can easily visit this “Latin paradise,” where the propaganda posters continue to function as ever-present reminders of just who’s boss—yesterday Fidel, today his brother Raúl—I jumped at the opportunity to see first-hand the realities of life for, in particular, its remaining Jews.

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Amsterdam’s Jaw-Dropping 17th-Century Jewish Library

Posted on May 14th, 2017
BY ABBY SHER for Jewniverse

In 1639, Sephardic Jews in Amsterdam—many of whom had fled religious oppression in their home countries of Spain and Portugal—founded a school and meeting place that was a testament to their newfound religious freedom. Today, Ets Haim (Hebrew for “Tree of Life”), is the oldest functional Jewish library in the world. And it’s visually stunning.

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These Hasidic Legos Are Coming to a Death Star Shul Near You

Posted on May 7th, 2017
BY MATTHUE ROTH for Jewniverse

The wonder of Legos is that you’re supposed to be able to build anything you can imagine. While sitting around their Baltimore Shabbos table, Tobey Finkelstein and family decided that what they wanted to build was a Lego construction that reflected their own interests–that is, observant Judaism and Star Wars. Rubber tires became shtreimels. A miniature robot construction site becomes the youth service. And beards become…well, beards.

Their mission: to build Beis Death Star Kochav Chaim, the first intergalactic synagogue.

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Scottish Jews protest Church of Scotland report on Balfour

Posted on April 30th, 2017
‘Considerable reservations’ about criticism of settlements in report to mark centenary of 1917 Declaration


Groups representing Scottish Jews have said they have “considerable reservations” about a report published by the Church of Scotland to mark the centenary of the Balfour Declaration.

A statement by the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC), supported by the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council, was issued on Thursday in response to the publication of a report titled ‘Embracing Peace and Working for Justice.

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Now Americans, Bukharian Jews face new set of challenges

Posted on April 23rd, 2017
  BY RACHEL DELIA BENAIM for The Times of Israel    
In 30 years, this Jewish enclave in Queens, NY, went from one synagogue to 40; but what will the next generation look like?

The restaurants are packed on Bukharian Broadway, a wide boulevard in Queens, New York.

At Da Mikelle, one of many kosher eateries featuring Bukharian cuisine, families crowd the dining rooms to mark the occasion of a yushvo, the anniversary of a loved one’s death.

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