Congregation Beth David to premiere “Cuba’s Forgotten Jewels,” a haven in Havana

Congregation Beth David will host the Rhode Island premiere of a powerful film that tells the story of Jewish immigrants who fled to Cuba to avoid the Holocaust. “Cuba’s Forgotten Jewels: A haven in Havana” will be shown on Saturday,  Jan. 20 at 7 p.m. at Congregation Beth David, 102 Kingstown Road, Narragansett, RI 02882.

Prior to the movie, Congregation Beth David member Esther Levine, who was born and raised in Cuba, will share her story about growing up in Cuba.  Cuban-themed drinks and snacks will be served before the movie.

Among the many Holocaust stories, that of Jewish immigrants who survived by fleeing to Cuba is barely known. Refugees who made it to Havana found work to support themselves and their family members in a newly transported trade: diamond polishing.  

“Cuba’s Forgotten Jewels” was born of the tales that Marion Kreith told her daughter, co-director Judy Kreith, over the years. Marion escaped war torn Europe as a young girl with her family, evading Nazi capture and crossing the Atlantic to a tropical paradise. In this film, firsthand survivor accounts take us back to 1940s Havana – an era at once tumultuous, heart breaking, and intoxicating – to reveal an immigration success story. 

With a stunning musical score of Jewish melodies and the pulsating music of Havana, the film merges the realities of two vastly different yet intermingled cultures, bringing this colorful and uplifting piece of history to light.

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The film has or will be shown across the country at Jewish film festivals including Miami, New Jersey, Savannah, Denver. Congregation Beth David’s screening will be the film’s R.I. premiere.

The film was made possible by the generous support from the National Center for Jewish Film.

Questions/RSVP to Sally Chorney at smchorney1@verizon.net.

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