Humanitarian Religious Missions - Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Humanitarian Religious Mission?
One of the most rewarding aspects of the Cuban Jewish Relief Project is being part of a mission. These missions bring welcome and needed supplies including medicine, cultural/religious items such as Judaica and books and moral support (people meeting people) to Cuba’s Jewish community. Cuban people have a strong link with fellow Jews.
Are B’nai B’rith Missions Legal?
Yes, the B’nai B’rith Cuban Jewish Relief Project and its religious missions operate under a religious license awarded by the United States government Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
What Happens During a Mission?
We generally have several missions per year including our annual Chanukah mission. A mission usually lasts eight days. The most exciting aspects of a mission are that they bring love and aid to the Jewish community. Each participant is asked to carry needed humanitarian supplies. These items are distributed by the mission based on need. Many are brought directly to the Patronato which functions as Cuba’s Jewish community center and the communities outside Havana. In addition to delivering humanitarian items, mission participants also meet members of the Jewish communities, visit significant Jewish cultural and historic sites and learn more about Jewish life in Cuba.
During the weeklong mission participants visit three synagogues in Havana and visit other Jewish communities. There will be meetings with leaders and members of each Jewish community as well as educators at the University of Havana.
The mission participants will attend a B’nai B’rith Cuba Maimonides Lodge meeting and enjoy a Shabbat meal with the Jewish community. We will travel with members of the Jewish community on a retreat outside Havana. We will also visit Cienfuegos and Santa Clara and see the new Holocaust Memorial and the Jewish cemetery. There will be an opportunity to attend worship services at the various synagogues. Some cultural and social activities such as viewing the Old City, seeing historical sites, visiting the markets and enjoying Cuban culture are included. All of these activities will provide the participants with a well-rounded look at life in Cuba, especially the island’s vibrant Jewish community.
What is the Fee?
Please contact the B’nai B’rith International at (800) 656-5561 (toll-free number) or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is included in the Fee?
> Hotel accommodations for one night in Miami.
> Seven-night stay at 5-star hotels in Havana and Cienfuegos.
> Roundtrip airfare between Miami and Havana.
> Support for B’nai B’rith Cuban Jewish Relief Project, which will be used to aid Cuban Jewish community.
> Complete breakfast and dinner daily.
> Bilingual guide during trip.
> Bus transportation for entire stay.
> Medical insurance while in Cuba.
> $50 US tax on entry.
> Transfers to and from airport in Cuba.
What is not included in the Fee?
> Roundtrip airfare from participant’s home to Miami.
> Cuba airport taxes.
> Miscellaneous tips such as bus driver and bi-lingual guide.
> Optional travel insurance.
> Optional activities.
What about passports and visas?
Each mission participant must have a valid passport. The B’nai B’rith Cuban Jewish Relief Project will provide visas and has a license for travel to Cuba. If you are Cuban born you are required to get a special visa. Please call our office for details.
Do I have to be a member of B’nai B’rith?
All participants must be current members of B’nai B’rith.
How should I dress?
Cuba has a tropical climate that is moderated by trade winds. The temperature is similar to that of Miami.
We recommend casual lightweight clothing, comfortable walking shoes, a fold-up umbrella and a casual rain jacket. Pants and skirts are preferred for attending synagogue services. If you are participating in a fall/winter mission you may wish to bring a jacket and sweater.
What else should I know?
The US embargo prohibits the use of American credit cards and traveler checks in Cuba. American dollars must be converted to Cuban convertible pesos.
B'nai B'rith Cuban Jewish Relief Project
2020 K Street, NW, 7th Floor
Washington, DC 20006
(800) 656-5561 (toll-free number)
(202) 857-6609 (fax number)