Thursday, December 17, 2015

Cuba Trip - Day 1 (part 2)

I'm beginning to question about whether to post color images or convert everything to b/w. I'll have to see how the 'street' shots look.

On the first day in Havana we visited the Conservative synagogue, Temple Beth Shalom, which is referred to throughout the Jewish community as the Patronato. The building is a stately modern structure on a side street, Calle I, off of Linea near the Agenda De Los Presidentes in the Vedado neighborhood. When (not 'if') McDonald's invades Cuba it may have to pay royalties to the Patronato to use its trademark arches.

Adela Dworkin, the vice-president of the institution, gave us a talk on the community and the extensive efforts she and the synagogue administration go through to maintain and grow the struggling Jewish community. 

The Patronato maintains an extensive library on religion and Jewish culture.

The most important function of the synagogue is to maintain a school to educate the children of the community and inform them of the richness of their Jewish heritage in the small classrooms of the building.

The synagogue is blessed with an abundant five torah scrolls. But the building is in need of repair. The roof leaks.