Friday, December 18, 2015

Cuba Trip - Day 2 (part 1)

Time for some color! Every street, every corner, it's impossible to get away from it. Every way you turn your head in Havana there's a street scene with a story.

Even with no people in the scene, and no matter how deteriorated the buildings look, there's a quaint romanticism everywhere.

The people are dynamic and colorful:

There's music everywhere:

And old cars with hybridized engines and no emission control:

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.


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Cuba Trip - Day 1 (part 1)

Just back from a trip to Cuba. The island is beautiful, the environment challenging, and the people are wonderful. The only way to travel to Cuba from the USA for now is as part of a religious or humanitarian mission (or other kind of group licensed by the US Department of State). So I joined a group from my local Jewish Community Center to bring Hanukah to the 1200-1500 Jews of Cuba.

The island is a photographer's paradise. For this series of blog posts I'll be posting photos in both  b/w (the photos of the Jewish community) and color (just about everything else). More information about the trip and the Island to come, I have thousands of images to work through. But for starters, two shots to get the ball rolling.

This was the first click of the shutter on the island and on the trip. So fitting that it should be of a beautiful young woman. The people in general are very easy on the eyes and smiles abound. 

This was on Tuesday evening, after our first full day on the Island. In the mezzanine of the hotel we lit the menorah to commemorate the third day of Hanukah.