By COLlive reporter
This past Friday, Secretary of State John Kerry and other dignitaries presided over the ceremony of U.S. Marines raising the U.S. flag over the newly reopened embassy in Havana, Cuba.
Kerry attended the reopening of the U.S. Embassy after 54 years of broken diplomatic relations, dating back to the Cold War, more than half a century ago.
There to witness the historic moment were Rabbi Daniel and Mushka Illulian, a Chabad couple who were dispatched to Cuba as the summer Shluchim of Chabad Friends of Cuban Jewry (CFCJ).
The Illulians stood there among many enthusiastic Cubans, having seen up-close the effects of the U.S. embargo on residents, including members of the Jewish community.
Their summer mission was primarily focused on local Jewish children, providing an array of activities and programs.
“The summer provides a great opportunity to invest in humanitarian and educational programs, with many families experiencing Judaism hands-on through our activities,” notes Rabbi Illulian. “Many continue their involvement throughout the year, due to the impression and received during the summer months.”
Aside from learning, the Shluchim arranged trips to local tourist attractions, craft projects and educational activities. Hot meals were served daily.
“All this was done in addition to personal home visits, and providing for the material and spiritual needs of the community – arranging communal Shabbos meals, minyanim and other programs,” said Rabbi Shimon Aisenbach, Director of CFCJ.