The Jewish community of Cuba got a boost this summer with the arrival of Rabbi Menachem and Chaya Cadaner, who ran CGI of Cuba, along with bochur Eliyahu Ezagui, who arranged the first shechita in the country in decades.
By Anash.org reporter
The small Jewish community in the communist country of Cuba got a boost this summer with the arrival of a Lubavitcher couple and bochur who ran a summer camp, programs and held the arranged the first shechita in the country in decades.
The couple, Rabbi Menachem and Chaya Cadaner, along with their son Yoisef, were sent by Chabad Friends of Cuban Jewry (CFCJ), directed by Rabbi Shimon Aisenbach, to direct activities in Cuba for three months.
Besides for visiting and encouraging the community, the couple’s mandate for the summer was to lead the community Kollel and oversee the continuous construction of the women’s (and men’s) mikvah that the CFCJ is presently building on the island. The couple also ran a Gan Yisroel summer camp for the Jewish children of Havana.
Over the past decade, the camp, which is run in memory of Rabbi Shlomo Eliezer ben Rabbi Jacob, has been running the country to allow local Jewish children a chance to grow in their Yiddishkeit.
“The summer is one of CFCJ‘s greatest opportunities to invest in humanitarian and educational aid for the community. It is a chance for everyone to have hands-on experience learning all about Yiddishkeit. Many ideas introduced in the summer are continued on throughout the year, all due to the impression and education our emissaries give them,” Rabbi Aisenbach told Anash.org.
Aside from learning, the campers are taken to beautiful areas and tourist attractions to play and relax in. They enjoy boating, horseback riding, the zoo and the aquarium, to mention a few. Everyone is provided with supplies for arts and crafts, and they make beautiful projects based on Jewish themes. They also partake in regular sports and games.
A tasty, heaping plateful of food is definitely rejuvenating. On a daily basis, the children and their parents receive a scrumptious lunch. For many, the warm meal is a novelty. The CFCJ also provides them with transportation from home to camp, and back.
Besides for the annual activities, this year CFCJ arranged for bochur Eliyahu Ezagui to travel to the country and hold a shechita to provide kosher meat for the community. He flew with a suitcase of kosher salt for the kashering of the meat, which cannot be obtained in the country!
A kosher shechita was not held in the country for many decades, and the new ability to obtain fresh kosher meat will help strengthen the Jewish community in the country of Cuba, where it is not easy to find the most minimal things.
“We haven’t eaten kosher meat for many years,” shared one of the local Jews at a Shabbos meal, highlighting the need for the shechita.
In addition to the summer activities, kosher food packages are distributed to the local Jewish families in the country every week. The shechita will now enable kosher meat to be included in the packages.
“A special thanks goes to Eliyahu Blanco and Rabbi Cadaner for being a big part of the project,” Rabbi Aisenbach said.