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Havana. December 6, 2010
Raúl attends Cuban Jewish Community Festival
Alberto Núñez Betancourt
• PRESIDENT Raúl Castro Ruz described as "a fortunate coincidence in dates, the Jewish people’s celebration and important passages in our history" during a meeting with members of the Jewish Community of Cuba, which took place in the Synagogue headquarters of their Community Council, on the occasion of the fifth night of Hanukkah, which in Hebrew means "consecration," a traditional celebration also known as the Festival of Lights.
Raúl recalled that, 54 years ago on December 5, after the Granma landing, the expeditionaries were subjected to a surprise attack and engaged in their first combat, which represented a major initial defeat. But, 13 days later, the reencounter of one group of men with Fidel took place in Cinco Palmas, where the Comandante en Jefe, with only seven rifles and a great conviction of victory, affirmed: "Now we have won the war!"
On giving his heartfelt thanks for the possibility of meeting with those present, the Cuban president expressed his wish to meet again with the members of this community in Cuba, to talk about the fabulous history of the Jewish people.
Raúl also noted his satisfaction over the debates which began December 1 throughout the whole country to contribute to the improvement of Cuba’s economic model. "You, as part of the Cuban people, will also give your opinions."
After listening to the welcome message from Adela Dworin, president of the Jewish Community in Cuba, Raúl was invited to light the first of five candles placed in the center of the room in accordance with the fifth night of the Jewish festivity.
As a memento of his presence at the meeting, the president of the Cuban Jewish Community gave him a Jumash, a compendium containing the five books of the Torah.
Those meeting recalled the visit by the leader of the Revolution Fidel Castro Ruz to the Council headquarters of the Cuban Jewish Community, made precisely during the celebration of Hanukkah on December 20, 1998.
The audience enjoyed videos and a performance of traditional dances and songs by children and young people from the Community’s Sunday school.
Also present at the ceremony were Caridad Diego Bello, head of the Office of Religious Affairs of the Central Committee of the Communist Party; Havana City Historian Eusebio Leal Spengler; guests from the Cuban Council of Churches; and Party and government officials.