Be'chol Lashon
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A Community's First Bar and Bat Mitzvah Since 1958


Staff Writer, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, August 30, 2007
On a bright and sunny Shabbat in June 2004, Ana, 14 and Carlos, 17 recently celebrated their B'nai Mitzvah. The teens live in Santi Spiritus, a province town close to the city of Trinidad, with their parents, older sister and her daughter. Their B'nai Mitzvah were the first in their community since 1958.

Since Cuba was an atheistic country until 1995 many people lost touch with their faith, including Jews, and are now discovering Jewish family roots. Ana's and Carlos' family is among those looking to reconnect to their heritage.

There are currently 15 teenagers in Sancti Spiritus who are involved in the local Jewish youth group. They participate in activities such as Rikudim (Israeli dancing), Hebrew classes and Jewish educational games.

Ana and Carlos studied for three months to become B'nai Mitzvah and will now become involved in Jewish education for others in their community. They would like to visit Israel through the Birthright Program and are eagerly looking forward to the first ever National Cuban Israeli Dance Festival, to be held in Havana in July 2004.

Keywords: Cuba, Global Jews, Global Judaism