Letter from "Yolanda"

(An introductory note: In developing this website I've received e-mail from individuals around the country. This letter from "Yolanda" sums up many of the concerns I've heard. It is presented here unedited except for the paragraph separations. Out of respect for confidentiality, the correspondent's real name is not used. RS)

I had the opportunity to browse the Web page of the Cuban Jews, and noticed that someone is putting together a trip to Cuba in December. I have mixed feelings about all this because they are helping Castro. As a Cuban I can tell you that I'm against this sort of trip and that maybe because the Jewish Federation has no "Russian Jews" to think about now, the "forgotten Cuban Jews" have become their latest trendy Mizvak.

If my memory does not fail me, we the Cuban Jews that came in the early 60's were primarily ignored by the rest of the American Jews. Our plight and needs were many but the Federation for the most part ignored us. One of the groups that lend us a hand was the Chabad house, that's why some of the Cuban Jews ended up going to New York.

The Chabad House by the way has tripled their number in Miami with the help of the Cuban Jews. The Jews that stayed in Cuba after 1970 were for the most part Communists and were happy with Castro's regime.

I find the new discovery in Cuba sort of offensive. My mother says that she knew of a few families that were not able to leave the island because they were not Cuban citizens & were not able to get here, she herself had that problem, and it was only with the help of the Hasidic group in New York that she was able to come in 1969, six years after I came.

You can see that I have a lot of mixed feelings. I also have to wonder how come Fidel has been so good to the Jewish Community even allowing Kosher meat if it wasn't because of the money he is getting from us on the side. At any rate, I'm sorry I got into this issue but my Cuban part is also very strong, and I can't be one without the other.