Such a haunting prospect has sent the Jewish world scrambling. Exemplifying these concerns, former World Jewish Congress President Edgar Bronfman voiced one final rallying cry to the Jewish people just before he died. If Jewish peoplehood is to continue as it has for thousands of years, we must build and strengthen the everlasting bonds between not only Jews across ages, but also Jews across borders.
B'nai B'rith's Cuban Jewish Relief Project answers this call and then some.
The trip was as much time travel to a bygone era as a humanitarian mission to assist a community stricken with the trials of a collapsing economy, and a government unable to keep pace with the demands of population growth, globalization and modernity. A glance in any direction produced the blur of a flaming red 1958 Cadillac straight out of Philip Roth's pastoral America.
Perhaps most fitting then was our trip's final day. Following a week of delivering food, medication and other supplies to a community that so desperately needs it, we celebrated Havdalah with the same Cuban Jews who are so instrumental to the community's sustenance. Amidst prayer, song and gentle conversation, an intertwined Havdalah candle became an apropos metaphor to our realization that no matter what, Jews across all ages and borders are there in support of each other.
As the flame danced, Bronfman's call was answered. B'nai B'rith's Cuban Jewish Relief Project is doing truly transformational work, not only in maintaining a storied tradition and community, but also in engaging a future generation of Jewishness.