Jew, Spanish-speaking in Cuba

Jew, Spanish-speaking
Photo Source:  Joshua Project  Creative Commons  Used with permission
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People Name: Jew, Spanish-speaking
Country: Cuba
10/40 Window: No
Population: 500
World Population: 298,600
Primary Language: Spanish
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Jews
Affinity Bloc: Jews
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The word Sephard was the name used by Jews in medieval times for the Iberian Peninsula. Sephardim Jews, then, are the descendants of the Jews who lived in Spain or Portugal prior to expulsion in 1492 by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. Sephardim also have a distinctive language called Ladino, or Judeo-Spanish. This is a dialect of Castilian Spanish with Hebrew and Turkish elements.

When they were expelled from Spain, some of these Sephardic Jews found their way to various Spanish colonies, including Cuba. Most of them left for the United States during the 1959 communist revolution.

Where Are they Located?

Sephardic (Spanish speaking) Jews live in just about all Spanish speaking countries today, including Spain itself. Those who live in Cuba face special problems from living in a communist nation. The Jews in Cuba live mainly in the capital city of Havana.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Most of the Jews left Cuba at the beginning of Fidel Castro’s 1959 communist revolution. A small number stayed in Cuba to suffer in this twisted “worker’s paradise.” Those who stayed in Cuba don’t fact anti-Semitism, but there is much animosity towards Israel. Today Cuba is trying to re-build their economy after 60 years of failed communist economics.

What Are Their Beliefs?

For religious Jews, God is the Supreme Being, the Creator of the universe, and the ultimate Judge of human affairs. Beyond this, the religious beliefs of the Jewish communities vary greatly. Orthodox Jews generally follow the traditional religious beliefs and practices found in the Jewish literature that interprets Scripture regarding ethical, religious, civil and criminal matters. Conservative Judaism is less traditional than Orthodox and combines different ethical, philosophical, and spiritual schools of thought.

Reform Judaism is the most liberal form and interprets Jewish beliefs and practices in light of contemporary life and thought. Reform Jews do not believe that the Jewish Law is divinely revealed. They are not restricted to kosher (traditional, approved) foods, nor do they wear the skull cap (yarmulke) when praying or use Hebrew in prayer. All religious Jews believe in the coming of a Messianic Age, but only the Orthodox Jew looks for a personal Messiah. Many of the Jewish people in Cuba are secular in their religious beliefs, partly because of the influence of communism.

What Are Their Needs?

The Jews have a wonderful understanding of their connection with the Abrahamic covenant. However, they also have a history of rejecting Jesus Christ as Messiah, the one who fulfilled that covenant. Pray that as the gospel is shared, it will not be viewed as anti-Semitic, but rather as the fulfillment of what God promised humanity through Abraham centuries ago.

Prayer Points

* Pray for a "Book of Acts" type of movement to Christ among the Spanish speaking Jews of Cuba.
* Pray for the Sephardic Jewish people to understand and embrace that Jesus wants to bless their families and neighborhoods.
* Pray for Holy Spirit anointed believers from the Jewish people to change their society from within.
* Pray for a movement in which the Holy Spirit leads and empowers disciples to make more disciples.
* Pray for a movement of Jesus to heal and strengthen Spanish speaking Jewish communities.

Text Source:   Keith Carey