The CAJM works closely with the Jewish communities of Cuba to make their dreams of a richer Cuban Jewish life become reality.
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CAJM members may travel legally to Cuba under license from the U.S. Treasury Dept. Synagoguges & other Jewish Org. also sponsor trips to Cuba.
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Become a friend of the CAJM. We receive many letters asking how to help the Cuban Jewish Community. Here are some suggestions.
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Religious persecution in the fifteenth century brought Jewish life to an end in Spain. The Spanish Inquisition gave Jews the choice to either convert to Catholicism or be expelled. Most Jews left for points east in the Mediterranean or north to France or the Netherlands. Those who stayed converted, but many continued to practice Judaism secretly. These "pretenders" of Catholicism were called los Marranos, which referred to the pork they would eat in public for show their support of Catholicism. Many Marranos headed for the "New World" where they established their communities, complete with synagogues. In Spanish controlled territories, however, while less threatened by the local government, the practice remained secret. In Cuba where the Inquisition was strong it was very difficult to continue Jewish practices even in secret. These "New Christians" left for other locations in the New World or were absorbed into the general Spanish population of Cuba.

Cuba saw many waves of Jewish immigration after the Spanish-American War. During the 1920s, with the tightening of immigration quotas into the U.S.A., Jews, mainly from Turkey and Eastern Europe, settled all over the island. Young men from Eastern Europe, both single and married, came to make a better life or to wait until they could get permission to immigrate to the U.S. Many quickly became successful peddlers and small businessmen. The married ones sent to Europe for their families and bought homes. Single men either sent to the "old world" for wives or intermarried with the Cuban Catholic population. Those from Turkey and other Sephardic Jews tended to arrive as family units. Since life in Havana was more expensive than in the countryside and more opportunities for economic success existed in other cities, the Sephardic influence became widespread across the island.

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The Cuba-America Jewish Mission is a nonprofit exempt organization under Internal Revenue Code Sections 501(c)(3), 509(a)(1) and 170(b)(1)(A)(vi) per private letter ruling number 17053160035039. Our status may be verified at the Internal Revenue Service website by using their search engine. All donations may be tax deductible.
Consult your tax advisor. Acknowledgement will be sent.