“El Malecon…. There’s no place like it in the world– at least for those of us whose destiny it was to be born in Cuba.”
–Opening words of Adio Kerida.
“Como se iba la gente…. Las despedidas en el aeropuerto. So many people were leaving…. Goodbyes said at the airport.”
Caridad Martinez, caretaker of Ruth Behar as a child in Cuba, recalling the exodus of Cubans in the 1960s, during the early years of the Cuban revolution.
Filmed at Caridad’s home in Miramar.
“Mar Y Tierra – Sea and Land” A beautiful facade in Havana.
“Torahs from Turkey”
These are among the nine torahs brought to Cuba by Sephardic Jews from Turkey in the early years of the twentieth century.
“Miguelito and His Drums”
Miguelito is the grandson of a Sephardic Jewish immigrant who came to Cuba from Turkey in the 1920s.
“Elisa, granddaughter of Rosa Cohen”
She agreed to be interviewed for Adio Kerida in the uncertain days before her departure and immigration to Israel in the new year of 2000.
“Singing in the Patronato”
Alberto Behar sings a Sephardic song in the now-restored Patronato Synagogue.
“!Flores, florero!” A flower-seller in Old Havana.
“Singer of Tangos”
Daniel Esquenazi Maya performing in his home in Old Havana.
Roberto Levy Cohen, the eldest Sephardic Jew of Cuba, when he was with us prior to his passing away in the summer of 2002.
The Behar last name is quite common in Cuba. The Sephardic cemetery in Guanabacoa is full of Behar tombstones.
“Repeat after me…”
Jose Levy helps his daughter, Danayda, prepare for her Bat Mitzvah.
“Se fue, se fue, se fue/They left, they left, they left.”
Register of names of Sephardic Jews who were members of the Centro Hebreo Sefardi of La Habana, with red lines denoting those who have recently immigrated to Israel.
These old torah wraps found in the Chevet Ahim synagogue are worn and tear easily. They will eventually be buried in the Jewish cemetery. In this photograph, Ruth has found a torah wrap with the name “Behar” embroidered in Hebrew. (three characters between her hands)
“Che Guevara for Sale”
Images of El Che, the Argentine revolutionary who fought in the Cuban revolution, which sell for five dollars each in the artisan’s market in La Habana.
New York, Philadelphia, Michigan
Ruth Behar leaves a stone atop her grandmother’s tomb in the Jewish cemetery where her parents will be buried.
“Bride and Groom”
Rebeca and Alberto Behar, parents of Ruth Behar, in an Uzbeki general store in Queens, New York
Cuban restaurant in Queens, New York.
“Mori and His Bass”
Mori Behar, musician and brother of Ruth Behar, playing a gig in Philadelphia.
Ruth Behar drives home on the familiar roads of her home town, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
All text and images are copyrighted by Ruth Behar. All rights reserved.