2000, the Canadian Jewish Congress, Ontario region (CJC), continued
a tradition of chesed that it has maintained for almost
On March 31 a
Cubana Airlines plane took off from Montreal's Mirabel airport
carrying Passover foodstuffs to the Jewish community in Cuba.
A second plane departed on the following day to complete the
shipment. In all, almost 10,000 kilograms (more than 20,000
pounds) of food, including wine, matzoh, fish and cooking oil
were transported in time for distribution to Jewish families
throughout the Republic of Cuba.
to this humanitarian effort began after the 1961 revolution
and has continued to this day. The motivation for this annual
effort can be found in the pages of the Passover Haggadah, the
narration of the exodus from Egypt that is a central piece of
the festival. The liturgy of Passover impels Jews to ensure
that all who are hungry have a place at the traditional seder
This year's effort
was highlighted by the significant cooperation and assistance
that CJC received from the Government of the Republic of Cuba.
In previous years, transportation was split between air and
sea in order to reduce costs. This year, the Cuban government
offered to transport 4000 kilograms free of charge and to considerably
discount the remainder of the shipment. The generosity of the
Cuban government ensured that our friends in Cuba received this
important shipment in plenty of time to ensure proper distribution.
CJC is proud to
be a part of an ongoing relationship with the Jewish community
in Cuba and is particularly grateful for the opportunity to
work closely with communal representatives like Dr. Jose Miller
and Adela Dworin (of the Casa de la Comunidad Hebrea de Cuba,
Patronato) and to partner with the Appeal of Conscience Foundation,
a US-based human rights organization which provides an annual
donation to purchase additional foodstuffs for shipment to Cuba.
Len Rudner, Director
by Edward Regan, Toronto Globe and Mail, March 20, 1998, shows
Moshe Ronen, left, Chairman of the Canadian Jewish Congress
Ontario Region, and fellow volunteers Dani Fine, center, and
Bernie Farber loading Passover supplies destined for Cuba.
(Note to CJC members who have
participated in these trips: we would like to feature several
photographs of your activities along with this article. Please
contact us if you have some photos
you would like to share.)