You may wonder, why do we celebrate the 4th of July? What does it mean? This day is incredibly significant in American history, as it marks the day the United States officially became its own nation. The Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4th, 1776 and American was born. American citizens celebrate America’s birthday with festivals, parades, fireworks barbecues and other festive activities.
What really happened on July 4th, 1776?
On June 1776 Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia, Virginia statesman Richard H. Lee proposed a motion for the colonies to declare independence from Britain. A committee was formed to draft an official independence document, which became known as the Declaration of Independence on July 2, 1776. Lee motion for independence was approved. On July 4th, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was officially adopted, and America became a free nation.
FIREWORKS is a long standing tradition. Whether we go to watch a display in a public forum or purchase legal fireworks this is how we celebrate with a bang. Happy Birthday America
SPARKLERS These hand held fireworks are a family favorite. The colored flames and sparks help light up like candles on a birthday cake. Happy Birthday America
BARBECUES Many Americans host or attend a barbecue on Independence Day. The day is spent outside celebrating with games and fun activities. Barbecues are held in a back yards, parks and beaches. Happy Birthday America
PARADES the community gathers in the street to celebrate Independence Day with floats, marching bands, entertainment and food. Happy Birthday America
COLORS wearing red , white and blue, the colors of the American flag. Happy Birthday America
TRAVEL Many Americans plan getaways to celebrate Independence Day. They tend to go to the lake, ocean or camping to celebrate American the beautiful. Happy Birthday America
SHOPPING Let freedom ring and the savings begin. People love shopping 4th of July sales.
The 4th of July is a holiday many Americans hold near and dear to their hearts. On this day we remember the country’s fight for freedom and celebrate the United State with friends, family, food and fun. HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA
On Saturday December 18, 2021 we were very excited to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Cuban Hebrew Congregation / Temple Beth Shmuel in a magnificent Gala event. The evening started with champagne and hors d oeurves in the cocktail room. Our guests were invited to walk in to a red carpet timeline gallery of pictures and descriptions from where it all began. Beginning in Cuba and coming to Miami, the success of the years in-between to today’s 60 years of celebration. This included a beautiful homage to Ofelia Ruder, The Presidents’ Wall and the Honor Wall which included Rabbi Dow Rozencwaig, Jack Chester, Isaac & Nieves Olemberg, Oscar & Rosa Boruchin and Lorenzo & Lucy Rozencwaig.
The evening continued in the beautiful Olemberg Ballroom where homage was made to the families that were instrumental in keeping the doors open and growing the community for the past 60 years. We invited Mayor Daniella Levin Cava of Miami Dade County and commissioners, Ms. Kristen Castillo presented a Proclamation to the Cuban Hebrew Congregation in honor of 60 years. In addition a special award was given to Becky Kobrowski-Cohen for her valuable contributions to the community. We also invited Mayor Dan Gelber of Miami Beach and commissioners Vice Mayor David Richardson and commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez who presented a Proclamation naming Dec 18, 2021 Cuban Hebrew Congregation Day in honor of the 60thAnniversary. The following people were awarded appreciation certificates for their dedication to the community and to the Cuban Hebrew Congregation growth. The honorees are Avi Ashkenazi, Rosa Boruchin, Rachel Dubelman, Gaby Oleksnianski and Lucy Rozencwaig. A special award was given to Becky Kobrowski-Cohen in recognition for her vision and leadership that has helped the community and Cuban Hebrew Congregation.
After the presentations the party began with dinner, dancing, drinking and being entertained by the fabulous Melina Almodovar and her band. We were treated to a special rendition of Siboney by our own Baritone Rabbi Stephen Texon. Finishing the night we had a tribute to Cuba with Celia Cruz’s Life is a Carnival, maracas and Cuban coffee. If you were not dancing on the dance floor you were dancing in your chair.
We would like to thank all of you who have supported the Cuban Hebrew Congregation and the 60thAnniversary. This would not have been possible without you and our most generous sponsors; Mr. & Mrs. Roberto Olemberg, Brandon Insurance Company, Golden & Glaskow Attorney Firm, Ms. Rosa Boruchin, Ms. Lucy Rozencwaig, Cohen Family, Moncarz Family, Shaike Caterer, Bella Cuba Restaurant, Torah Treasure, Café La Llave, Cuban Cigars, Sentir Cubano, Goya, Little Habana Restaurant and Moises Bakery.
Due to the Covid restrictions and for the safety of our community we were only able to hold 100 guests seating. For all those who wanted to attend and were not able we thank you for your understanding and for your support as donations continue to come in. We will not be waiting another 10 years for our next celebration and we look forward to seeing you at our next cultural or social event.
The Jewish - Cuban community would like to thank the Mayor and Commissioners of the City of Miami Beach for their continued support.
On May 20th the Cuban Hebrew Congregation hosted an event to celebrate Cuba Independence Day and how the Jewish people participated in the Cuban War of independence. It was an evening of education and cultural. The evening started with the famous humor of Chef Pepin a long time friend in our community. Rabbi Texon gave the invocation and delighted the audience with his rendition of Granada, which was given a standing ovation. We would like to thank our speakers Prof. Marcos Antonio Ramos, Ms. Ivi Torres Morales and Prof. Raul Moncarz. After the speakers we had a mini operatic concert with Soprano Kiley Hernandez, Florida Opera Prima accompanied by Julio Lopez Martin, Guitarist. The night continued with Happy Hour of Cuba Libres, maracas and dancing to the Latin beat of Tomasito. We would like to thank our sponsors Versailles, Sierra, Eye Desire Eye Care, Florida Opera, Latin Café , Royal Palm Barber Shop, Academia de la Historia, Nancy Brook, Photographer Roberto Koltun and the Women’s League. The Jewish – Cuban community would like to thank the one person who has made this event at all possible Professor Raul Moncarz. This event will continue to grow each year. We have started our social events and we invite you to join us at our next one.
Crossing the Narrow Bridge…
There is a quote from a very famous Jewish sage who lived from1772 until 1810 named Rabbi Nachman which is: Kol ha-olom kulo gesher tsar me’od; v’haikar lo lifacheyed klal. It is translated as, “The entire world is a narrow bridge; the essential thing is not to fear at all.”
This past year has been difficult for many of us – it has definitely been a narrow bridge to cross. We have had to make many adjustments to our lives as we have feared the possibility of contracting a life threatening disease. We have all been walking on this narrow bridge, trying to be careful not to tumble off as we take precise and calculated steps trying to focus on what’s at the end of this bridge and what awaits us on the other side.
Slowly but surely in a safe manner we are reaching the other side. COVID in the state of Florida is getting under control with fewer deaths and increase of the vaccination which is easily available now in many places without appointments. We are able to gather in small groups with family and friends, when not too long ago we were isolated. Restaurants, malls and theaters are opening up with safe guidelines. Sporting and concerts events are opening up as well. We are still not like we were before but we are not frozen in place as we were in 2020.
As we continue to go forward and reach the other side, we do look back and are thankful to GOD for showing us compassion – to think of others before ourselves, to be grateful – not to take even the smallest thing for granted and strength – to have courage, not to be afraid or give up. The Jewish people have crossed many bridges throughout history and have made it through with the faith of GOD.
That faith has showed the world if you are determined and not afraid, we can do anything. We must focus on what we will attain once we get to our destination. Through the journey beginning, middle and towards the future ahead you’re Rabbi, your synagogue and your community is here for you. You can always find comfort, joy, happiness and love with us.
It is time once again to be socially and culturally connected to your community. Cuban Hebrew Congregation / Temple Beth Shmuel continue with its traditional and new events. We invite you to be part of our famous Mother’s Day Program, with a Mexican theme, Cuba Independence Day Celebration, Father’s Day Program with a Hawaiian theme and our big CHCM 60thAnniversary Gala.
Let’s continue to cross the bridge …….. together.
“Physically distanced, spiritually connected.” Many synagogues are using this phrase to describe how they continue to function and connect with their members. It may sound like an easy task, but it isn’t. It takes hard work, time, imagination, creativity and effort. Thank you to our Rabbi, office staff and volunteers who are keeping us connected. Most temples are beginning to open for the public to physically attend services and events. We have been open with all the safe guidelines in place since February. We have been able to share Shabbat, holiday and cultural events together and we will continue to do so. Please join us for Shabbat services and observing the yahrzeits of you love ones or honoring a special occasions. We are getting ready for the famous Mother’s and Father’s Day program. Every year it is a huge success with special surprises, this year will not be any different. I look forward to seeing you and enjoying these events together.
What Blessing should you say when you get the COVID-19 vaccine?
This moment felt far off at the beginning of the pandemic, but it has arrived. Both Moderna and Pfizer have produced COVID-19 vaccines to immunized 100 million people in the first quarter of 2021.
Here are some blessings that you should consider; The shehecheyanu blessing, thanking God who brought us to this day; She’asah li nes bamakom hazeh, who has done a miracle; and Shenatan michochmato I’basar v’adam, who has given of His wisdom to flesh and blood.
What do you say upon receiving the vaccine that one day lead to communal life again? To bench gomel on the Shabbat after receiving the vaccine. Gomel is a prayer said when one has come through a harrowing threat of life. It is received by the congregation and responded to by the full community, each person asking for more good to come to the one who has survived.
The vaccine will allow people in isolation to soon reintegrate with their family and friends, there will be much to celebrate. One must offer words of praise and blessing to Hashem upon the amazing event of receiving the vaccine!
Dear Members and Friends,
As the end of this challenging year 2020 approaches I want to express what an honor and privilege it has been to be the President of Cuban Hebrew Congregation these past 3 years. It was my mission to preserve our history and legacy with the knowledge that there was much work to be done. With the help of our beautiful loyal members we know our vision and plans will persevere and become reality.
When I took over the Presidency in 2018 the Temple was in distress financially, our properties were lacking in proper maintenance and our facilities were underused. It was overwhelming. It was then I decided to focus full steam ahead to turn this situation around and put our beloved Congregation back on its feet. This would then enable us to move forward with our many plans and vision.
We are once again financially sound which allows for the proper care of our properties, use our facilities to its fullest potential and accomplish plans for our future. It was a monumental task to restore our properties but I’m happy to say we now have qualified, licensed and certified companies performing for us in a timely skillful manner and in many cases at a cost saving to the Temple.
We also hired a first rate caterer Shaike. Prior to the Pandemic our fabulous caterer was booking many large events, including professional and business conferences. We’re already planning for future events once acceptable.
The Yizkor book was incredibly successful this past year, spearheaded by Becky Kobrowski. The memory of our departed family members was more than ever in the forefront, with much love “We remember them”...
There have been many accomplishments these past 3 years too many to mention in this President’s farewell message. I must mention that I could not have accomplished them without the support and help of our Board members and office staff. Volunteers such as Becky Kobrowski-Cohen our Executive VP who works tirelessly both in our administration and in planning incredibly successful events and Gena Gutman our Treasurer who helps me review our financials and find additional avenues for improvement. Our Rabbi Stephen Texon and Rebbetzin Nancy Texon, Vice President of Women’s League, have both done a great job with our spiritual side and have supported our initiatives and members especially during these Pandemic times.
Many accolades and thanks to our office staff, Avi Ashkenazi and Marivi Leander, our devoted and outstanding employees, could not run the operations of the Temple without their help.
Our Board members Rosita Boruchin, Raul Moncarz, Gladys Sapayo and Gaby Oleksnianski whose input, support and advice enabled us to move forward with confidence and get the Temple “back on its feet”. Their support and love helped us immeasurably through some difficult and challenging times.
Looking towards the future I would like to introduce our new President for 2021, Gaby Oleksnianski, a long time loyal dedicated member and current Vice President on our Board of Directors. The Oleksnianski family have been devoted members of Cuban Hebrew Congregation for many years. Gaby is a successful business owner who has the understanding and capability to continue in the trajectory we have embarked on, to build upon the success of the Congregation and implement our vision for the future.
I will remain in a supportive position to the President and will be there during the transition to assist as needed. Many congratulations to Gaby Oleksnianski, who is dedicated to the preservation of the legacy of Cuban Hebrew Congregation and to its future. Let’s welcome our new President Gaby Oleknianski with best wishes for great success with his term as President.
Much Love to all, Shabbat Shalom, Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2021 New Year.
Many blessings, stay safe,
Cuban Hebrew Congregation 2018-2020
Gay Pride or LGBT Pride is the promotion of self-affirmation, dignity, equality and increased visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people as a social group. Pride is opposed to shame and social stigma.
HISTORY OF PRIDE MONTH
In New York on June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in Greenwich Village, which resulted in bar patrons, staff and neighborhood residents rioting. Among many leaders of the riot were black, Trans, bisexual, gay men and women. This lasted 6 days, the message was clear, protesters demanded the establishment of places where LGBT and people could go and be open about their sexual orientation without fear or arrest.
Pride Month is largely credited as being started by bisexual activist Brenda Howard, known as “The Mother of Pride.” Brenda organized Gay Pride Week, this eventually morphed into what we know now as the New York City Pride March. Today the biggest International Gay Pride Parade is in Telaviv, Israel. Miami Beach is the host to the world known Gay Parade with weeklong activities.
The famous rainbow flag came about when gay politician, Harvey Milk asked a talented designer friend, Gilbert Baker, to design an all-encompassing symbol to take to the San Francisco Pride March in 1978. This flag is used today universally as a welcome sign.
Bill Clinton was the first US President to officially recognize Pride Month in 1999 and 2000. Then, from 2009-2016 Barack Obama declared June LGBT Pride Month.
As the President of Cuban Hebrew Congregation I must comment on the recent headlines and articles that were circulated among many Jewish publications regarding the state and future of Cuban Hebrew Congregation.
A reporter who seems to be quite negative in her view of our Congregation called our Rabbi out of the blue and showed up on our doorstep on a Saturday while we were conducting our Shabbat services. She showed up late but sat for the remainder of the services, she also took part in our kiddush following services. At the end of services she was quite insistent and "pushy" about an interview right there and then and proceeded to turn on her recording device which she manipulated on and off at will. My protestations of it being Shabbat and she can come during the week fell on deaf ears. She claimed this is the only opportunity she had available as she was leaving town and was expected someplace else. By the way she never interviewed the Rabbi which we thought was her purpose for contacting him in the first place.
Little did we know and now after publishing her infamous headlines that her intentions were less than honorable. I requested that she send us the article prior to publication which she did not do and which we find unprofessional and untrustworthy. This conduct on her part should have been an indication that she was not upfront about her purpose for coming to our Temple and she meant to do us harm.
Let me assure our friends and Jewish community that the headlines of our "struggling" and "future in jeopardy" and of our “premature demise” are greatly exaggerated and unfounded. It is true that at one time under different leadership we were suffering but NOT NOW. The truth is that our Congregation is doing better than ever. Under this current Administration and Board of Directors we are moving forward and finally are starting to see the "light at the end of the tunnel".
After doing many improvements to the Temple and together with our new exclusive world renowned Chef and Kosher Caterer Shaike LLC, Venue2020 we are proud to say that we are again booking weddings, bar mitzvahs, conferences, tours, concerts and other major events with maximum participation and success. Not everything is about membership numbers or if our congregation has still many elderly congregants. They are people also and deserve respect and not the condescending and dismissive attitude exhibited in the article.
The NEW Cuban Hebrew Congregation is moving in a new direction and expanding our horizons. We are focusing on becoming a Learning Center and we have much interest developing in this direction. Our facilities are perfect for it.
I want to reassure our friends and members that the "State of the Union" of our beloved Congregation is in great shape. Our finances are finally solid and our future looks bright. The finances of our Temple were never discussed with this reporter so where she got this information must be from parties who do not believe in our Congregation.
Let me further assure everyone that Cuban Hebrew Congregation is NOT FOR SALE now or in the near future. If that ever becomes something the Board of Directors wants to entertain we will let our community know.
All the rumors and innuendos as a result of the headlines and this article are just plain “Lashon Hara”. It is propagating unpleasant and harmful facts which is forbidden and a serious sin in the Jewish tradition. Please think before you speak and if you have any questions related to the article or our status, feel free to call the Temple office at 305-534-7213 but do not speculate on what is going on. You can speak with myself, Becky or any Board Member.
Join us for Shabbat Services and our Kiddush, we promise you will enjoy it.
Have a Blessed Shabbat. Shabbat Shalom,
With much love, Your President
Cuban Hebrew Congregation of Miami, Inc.
Cuban Hebrew Congregation of Miami, Inc. 1700 Michigan Avenue Miami Beach, FL 33139 US
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