By Ruth Behar
Yiddish-speaking Jews inspiration Cuba was once speculated to be a trifling layover at the trip to the us once they arrived within the island kingdom within the Twenties. They even referred to 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 liked island ceased to be a resort, and Cuba finally turned “home.” yet after Fidel Castro got here to energy in 1959, nearly all of the Jews adverse his communist regime and left in a mass exodus. although they remade their lives within the usa, they mourned the lack of the Jewish neighborhood they'd equipped at the island.
As a toddler of 5, Ruth Behar was once stuck up within the Jewish exodus from Cuba. transforming into up within the usa, she puzzled concerning the Jews who stayed at 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 used to be taking good care of this legacy? What Jewish stories had controlled to outlive the years of progressive atheism?
An Island referred to 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 by means of the yank media, Behar uncovers an aspect of Cuban Jews that's poignant and private. Her relocating vignettes of the participants 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 photos create an unforgettable portrait of a neighborhood that many have obvious even though few have understood. This publication is the 1st to teach either the power and the heartbreak that lie at the back of the undertaking of protecting alive the flame of Jewish reminiscence in Cuba.
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Additional resources for An Island Called Home: Returning to Jewish Cuba
Little did I know that the story behind it was waiting for me inside Cuba . . several years into the future, several return trips later. .
Inscriptions on the headstones are written in English, Hebrew, Yiddish, and Spanish. Tombs from the 1950s include photographs of the departed that could have been taken yesterday. I stop to marvel at how they have withstood tropical rainstorms and the blazing sun. But I despair. I’ve promised a picture to Moisés and Zoila in Miami, but I cannot find Henry. I see a rabbi’s grave, apart from the rest. qxd:Behar design 7/30/07 2:15 PM Page 43 Blessings for the Dead Machado. I see a Holocaust memorial, where the plaque declares that soap made out of Jewish flesh lies buried there.
May the Lord see fit to shine upon my fate, And join us once again, beyond, in death! Your Salomón [Salomón Barlía] Such an elaborate tombstone, I assumed, was the handiwork of a Jew who had left Cuba. Little did I know that the story behind it was waiting for me inside Cuba . . several years into the future, several return trips later. .
An Island Called Home: Returning to Jewish Cuba by Ruth Behar