Jewish Cuba: Past, Present and Future
Sunday, April 11
USA (10:30 am PST / 1:30 pm EST)
UK 6:30 pm / France 7:30 pm / Israel 8:30 pm
The talk will last approximately 90 minutes
About this talk
Cuba has been a refuge for Jews since 1492, when conversos sought a safe haven from the Spanish
Inquisition. Today, a tiny but united community of one thousand remains after
more than five hundred years of history and five distinct waves of Jewish
This will be a personal and historical account of Jewish life
in Cuba from a Cuban native and member of the Jewish community of Havana, which at one point
numbered over 15,000 members consisting of Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews from
both conservative and Orthodox denominations.
This journey will include pre- and post-revolution era life as well as Cuba in the current day. We'll explore the history of Jewish immigration waves to the island, the role of Jews in the social and economic fabric of the country and what the community looks like today, including current challenges and aspirations.
Saul Berenthal was born in Havana, Cuba in 1944 where his parents found refuge after fleeing Europe. Following the 1959 Castro revolution, the family left Cuba in search of a new life. After graduating from college in New York, he started working as a software engineer with IBM and later built several successful software businesses achieving the proverbial American dream. After several years in retirement from the business world, he took an interest in revisiting his former homeland around 2008.
In a somewhat of a bittersweet return, he saw a faded and worn reminder of his childhood, but with limitless potential to return to its former glory with the right environment. As a businessman, he saw that there were opportunities to help the Cuban people by developing their own economy.
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With your contribution you will also be donating to Pack for a Purpose. The Cuban Jewish "Juban" community needs our support now more than ever and we support them through our partnership with Pack for a Purpose, whose motto is "Small space, Little effort, Big impact".
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