Havana, Santa Clara & Cienfuegos


February 13—20, 2018

Cuban Women | Jewish Heritage Travel

Traveling with You...

Trip Leader
Scholar in Residence

Maritza Corrales is a Cuban historian who has dedicated her life’s work to researching the history of Jews in Cuba. Born in 1948, she is a graduate of the University of Havana (1972) and lives in Havana. She has been a consulting scholar to numerous research and academic institutions in Cuba and has published numerous articles on the history of Cuban Jews. She has lectured at universities in Israel, Spain, Mexico and Cuba.

Accompanying Faculty

Evry Mann, M.A. is a percussionist, composer and writer who holds masters degrees in religious studies and in music composition. Founder of the Center for Creative Education — a non-profit cultural center in Stone Ridge, New York — he was an artist in residence with the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes in Mexico for six years, performing throughout the country. Ev has led over 50 trips to Cuba to study music, dance, and visual art, and authored the section on Music and Nightlife in Havana for the “Time Out” Guidebook. He has also studied traditional African music in Mali and Senegal and worked extensively with the Ballet Folklorico Cutumba of Santiago de Cuba.


Program Overview

The history and heritage of the Jews of Cuba is rich, many layered, and influenced by an amalgam of Jews primarily from Turkey, Eastern Europe, and those who fled Europe prior to the Holocaust. Powerfully impacted by the emigration of over 90% of its Jewish population following the 1959 Revolution, Cuban Jewry has nevertheless managed to survive as a unique and creative community.

Members of the Museum of Jewish Heritage are invited to join a special mission to Cuba where they will enjoy an opportunity to experience this fascinating country with a special focus on its varied and diverse Jewish community. Led by Dr. Aryeh Maidenbaum, who has been organizing and leading trips to Cuba for many years, our group will be traveling to Cuba under the auspices of an approved Treasury Department license. This unique program will include presentations by experts on Jewish Cuba, meetings with local scholars and leaders of the Jewish community on the island, and an opportunity to experience the wonderfully diverse music, spirit, and culture of this exotic island.

Our base will be the 5-star, Meliá Cohiba Hotel in Havana. During our stay in Havana, we will meet with leaders of the Jewish community, participate in moving services at the Patronato Synagogue, hear presentations by local and accompanying scholars, and visit world-class museums and the Holocaust exhibit at the Sephardic Center. From Havana, there will be an overnight excursion to the outlying provinces of Santa Clara and Cienfuegos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where we will visit Cuba’s newest synagogue in Santa Clara and meet with members of the small but dedicated Jewish communities in Santa Clara and Cienfuegos. We invite you to join us!




Tentative Daily Itinerary*

Tuesday, February 13 | Miami – Havana

Departure from Miami on charter flight to Havana.

Check in to deluxe Meliá Cohiba Hotel, one of the best in Havana. Presentation by Professor Maritza Corrales on “The Jews of Cuba,” followed by orientation, reception and sumptuous buffet dinner at our hotel (included).

Dr. Maritza Corrales is a Cuban historian who has dedicated her life’s work to researching the history of Jews in Cuba. Based in Havana, she has been a consulting scholar to numerous research and academic institutions in Cuba, and has lectured at Universities in the United States, Israel, Spain and South America.

Wednesday, February 14

We will begin this morning by meeting with a leading Cuban authority on Cuban art and the architecture of Havana, followed by a visit the Sephardic Center in Old Havana to meet with Mayra Levy, President of the Center. Dr. Levy, a physician, and one of Havana’s Jewish community leaders, will discuss the history and role of Sephardic Jews in Cuba- a history dating back to the first Jewish immigration from Turkey following WWI.

Following our meeting with Dr. Levy, we will visit the Sephardic Center’s small, but moving Holocaust museum – the first exhibit about the Holocaust displayed in Cuba.

Following lunch (included) and a walk in Old Havana, return to our hotel for discussion, dialogue and authentic Cuban music by one of the leading groups on the island.

Evening free: dinner on our own.

Thursday, February 15

Accompanied by Professor Corrales, we will visit the Jewish cemetery of Havana before a visit to “Finca La Vigia” (Hemingway House) and lunch nearby at El Divino Paladar (included). Afternoon visit to Patronato, center of the Jewish community of Cuba, where we will meet with leaders of the community and learn firsthand about the work they are doing with the Jewish Community of Havana – including its youth and elderly.

Evening: panel discussion and dialogue with scholars. Dinner on our own.

Friday, February 16

Morning: private guided tour of the world class National Museum of Fine Arts- Cuban collection- led by our own scholar and/or Deputy Curator of the museum. Lunch at El Aljibe restaurant (included).

This evening, we will attend services at the Beth Shalom- the Conservative Synagogue of Havana, with a festive Shabbat dinner at the hotel (included) to follow.

Saturday, February 17

(Optional) Attend services at one of Havana’s three Jewish Synagogues… OR…free to rest, enjoy the Cohiba’s amenities, and/or explore Havana on our own. This afternoon, optional activities led by our guide will be offered.

Evening: (optional) attend a cultural activity in Havana.

Sunday, February 18

Check out of Melia Cohiba for early morning departure to Santa Clara (only an overnight bag will be needed; luggage will be stored by the Cohiba and brought to rooms when we check back in on Monday). In Santa Clara, we will visit the newest Synagogue in Cuba; meet Jewish community leaders, and visit the rededicated cemetery, which includes a moving memorial to the Holocaust. Following lunch (included) in Santa Clara, proceed to Cienfuegos. Check into La Jagua Hotel in Cienfuegos for dinner at a lovely Paladar by the sea (included) and overnight stay.

Monday, February 19

Meet with Jewish community representatives in Cienfuegos and understand firsthand the dedication to maintain Jewish life is like for this small community. Visit with Rebecca Langus, whose home serves as a Jewish center on Shabbat and holidays; deliver donations of food and medications we will bring with us. Return to Havana and check back in to the Melia Cohiba – with time to rest, relax or walk about Havana on our own.

Afternoon: Free to explore Old Havana and visit sites of personal interest.

Evening: Festive closing dinner at our hotel (included).

Tuesday, February 20

Following breakfast, depart for the airport and return trip home.


*Please Note: Daily schedule may be modified subject to weather or unanticipated changes.


Hotel Melia Cohiba lobby | jhtravel.orgHotel Meliá Cohiba
Hotel Meliá Cohiba (Havana)
The Meliá Cohiba is a five star, deluxe, Spanish operated hotel one of finest hotels in Havana. It is located in the residential neighborhood of Vedado, overlooks the sea and is a five-minute drive from Old Havana.

Hotel Jagua Cienfuegos Cuba Guest Room | jhtravel.orgLa Jagua Hotel (Cienfuegos)
A four star hotel in the picturesque city of Cienfuegos, La Jagua is considered the best hotel in Cienfuegos. Located on the bay, within walking distance of town, one can enjoy spectacular views of the bay from each of its rooms.

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Hotel Jagua Cienfuegos Cuba Lobby | jhtravel.org
Hotel Melia Cohiba Cuba Pool | jhtravel.org

Travel in comfort. We stay at deluxe hotels with fine amenities. Accommodations for this trip listed below.

Program Details

Program Details (cost and what it includes)
Land Program cost: $4,960*
(plus $54 Museum of Jewish Heritage membership fee for nonmembers)
Program fee includes:

  • Seven nights’ accommodations (six nights at Melia Cohiba hotel in Havana and overnight in Cienfuegos at La Jagua hotel)
  • Breakfast daily; three lunches and four dinners
  • All group transportation within Cuba via deluxe air-conditioned coach.

*Per person, based on double occupancy. Single supplement available at $995. Gratuities: ($150) and visa fee ($80) additional.

A $1,500 nonrefundable deposit due upon registration. Balance is due in full by December 30, 2017. (Subject to availability of space, participants may still register after this date, at an additional cost of $200).

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Registration Information


Limited to 28 participants, the program will entail considerable walking, including uneven terrain. Participants need to be in active, good health, able to keep up with the group, and ready to travel and experience group and cultural differences with grace. If you have any questions, or need help with your travel plans, please call the Jewish Heritage Travel Office at 845.256.0197.


Participants are strongly urged to purchase travel insurance for losses necessitated by having to cancel participation due to health issues. For your convenience, insurance forms will be sent upon registration, or consult your own insurance agent. Please contact The Jewish Heritage Travel office at 845.256.0197 for more information.


All cancellations must be received by The Jewish Heritage Travel Program in writing. Cancellations received up to 120 days prior to departure: full refund less non-refundable deposits, per person; 119-90 days prior to departure: 50% refund per person after non-refundable deposits. No refunds after this date.


All rights are reserved by the Program Directors to make faculty substitutions and/or to modify the itinerary (including hotels) as needed.

Disclaimer of Responsibility

By registering for this program, participant specifically waives any and all claims of action against the Museum of Jewish Heritage, and the Jewish Heritage Travel office and their respective staffs for damages, loss, injury, accident, sickness, or death incurred by any person in connection with this tour. The Museum of Jewish Heritage, and the Jewish Heritage Travel office and their respective staffs assume no responsibility or liability in connection with the service of any train, vessel, carriage, aircraft or other conveyance which may be used wholly or in part in the performance of their duty to the passengers. Neither will the Museum of Jewish Heritage, and the Jewish Heritage Travel office or their staffs be responsible for any injury, death, loss, accident, sickness, delay or irregularity through neglect or default of any company or person engaged in carrying out the purposes for which tickets, vouchers, or coupons are issued. No responsibility is accepted for losses or expenses due to sickness, viruses, weather, strikes, hostilities, wars, terrorist acts or acts of nature, local laws, or other causes. Jewish Heritage Travel and the Museum of Jewish Heritage are not responsible for any baggage or personal effects of any individual participating in one of their respective trips. In the event it becomes necessary or advisable for any reason whatsoever to alter the itinerary or arrangements, such alterations, including hotels, guides or scholars, may be made without penalty. All rights are reserved to require any participant to withdraw from the tour at his/her own expense when such an action is determined by the tour staff to be in the best interest of the participant’s health and safety, and that of the group in general.