Cuban Jews in South Florida

Image: cubanjewsslick_2013.jpg

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Lox with Black Beans & Rice: Portraits Of Cuban Jews in South Florida

Photographs by Randi Sidman-Moore

Cuba welcomed Jews for 100 years. Some American Jews helped support the efforts for Cuban Independence beginning in 1892. Sephardim arrived in 1902 and Ashkenazim came in the 1920s. After World War II, German-speaking refugees and Holocaust survivors found a safe haven there. Cuba at first was reluctant to grant Jews nationalized status; the U.S. State Department pressured Havana not to change its policies lest the Jewish immigrants seek entry into the United States. By the 1930s Cubans Jews were permitted to become citizens in Cuba and most lived comfortable lives there until the Revolution on January 1, 1959.

By 1960 many private holdings in Cuba were expropriated. As most of the island’s Jews were engaged in business and had gained a secure place in the middle class, many became disenchanted with the Revolution that was beginning to show Communist tendencies. About 10,000 of the 12,000 Cuban Jews had to leave everything behind them when they fled to South Florida.

These large format candid photographs by Randi Sidman-Moore reflect the daily lives and life and holiday cycles rituals of the Cuban Jews in South Florida. With excerpts from oral histories, the images show how they are different or similar to the larger society. These “Jewbans” are examples of diversity within one cultural landscape.

About 12 years ago, Miami photographer Randi Sidman-Moore was on a trip to Israel when she ended up in a bus with Cuban Jews from Miami. ''They had me in tears they were so funny,'' the photojournalist recalls. “The other Jews were so quiet, but they were having a party on the bus. They introduced me to the whole subculture.'' Sidman-Moore says she knew immediately that she wanted to explore the lives of Cuban Jews, to tell in photographs the story of what makes them different from other Jews, and different from other Cubans.

AVAILABILITY: Negotiable

CONTENT: 26 photographs, 24” x 36” or 36” x 24” - “floated,” laminated, with captions 2 text panels: Introduction & Artist’s Statement.

SPACE REQUIREMENTS: 80 linear feet

RENTAL FEE: $3,000 for 3 months plus round-trip shipping

INSURANCE VALUE: $50,000 evidence of insurance required

SECURITY: Medium

CONTACT: Jo Ann Arnowitz, Executive Director / Chief Curator, 305-672-5044 ext. 3180 or director@jewishmuseum.com OR Ira Newman, Curator of Traveling Exhibits, 305-672-5044 ext. 3165 or designer@jewishmuseum.com

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