The Jewish lived experience in Cuba
This research utilized an interdisciplinary qualitative approach to inquiry that requires border-crossing as its methodology for discovery in order to fully understand the lived experience of the Jews of Cuba. The study included a deep read of the Jewish Diaspora with a starting point being 597 BCE, then followed thousands of years of waves and world-wide movements, eventually leading to those Jews who settled in Cuba. For access into the lives of the present-day Jews, interviews with four participants who represented a cross-section of the Cuban Hebrew community were conducted; visits to the synagogues and to the kosher butcher shop were made; and many trips to the Ashkenazi and the Sephardic cemeteries in Guanabacoa, Cuba, were also made in order to take photographs and personally visit the sites. The four respondents interviewed were English speakers, were over 20-years old, and were citizens of Cuba. They were asked identical questions via e-mail with follow-up correspondence. For other narrative resources, 19 unpublished recorded stories were transcribed and included in the study to gain further access into the lives of Cuba’s Jewish population. To complete the inquiry, one published narrative was used to show parallels between those who were interviewed, as well as to show the similarities to those voices from the unpublished group. The end research result finds that today’s Cuban Jews, whose rich historical past on the island began as early as 1492, have survived despite all odds, and thrive with their traditions and laws intact. This research covered a period of 4 years—and four separate trips to Cuba.