Canadian Reports Cuban Jews Enjoy Religious Freedom Under Castro

A Toronto Jewish community official reported today on his return from Havana that the five synagogues there were functioning without interference from the Castro regime. There are no synagogues in another Cuban cities.

Ben Kayfetz, executive director of community relations here for the Canadian Jewish Congress and B’nai B’rith, said also that all Jewish institutions in Cuba were continuing to operate as they had before some 8,000 Cuban Jews emigrated. He added that there was complete religious freedom for the remaining 2,000 to 2,500 Jews in Cuba.

He cited, as an example, the fact that there had been no objections from the Government to a cabled appeal to the Israeli Chief Rabbinate to send a ritual slaughterer to Cuba. The appeal was made because the lone ritual slaughterer in Cuba, who is 75, is ill and would not be able to serve as shochet much longer. Meat supplies in Cuba are rationed, and such rations cannot be accumulated. If kosher meat and poultry are not available for the 1,000 observant Jews registered with Havana’s three kosher butchers, the ration is lost for that period, he said.

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