Sitting outside a Starbucks coffee shop in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla., a small city north of Miami Beach, Paul Hariton recalled the dramatic night in 2002 when he and his wife decided to leave their native Venezuela.
The Jewish community of Caracas officially dedicated the Venezuelan city's new main Sephardic synagogue, Tiferet Israel Este.
Nicolas Maduro, the handpicked successor of the late Hugo Chavez, was sworn in as the interim president of Venezuela amid opposition calls that the choice was unconstitutional.
A group of squatters forcefully entered a building that houses a synagogue, in a move that anti-government observers say was religiously motivated. The squatters were peacefully dislodged Monday morning after negotiations with the police and community leaders.
Six teenagers sit laughing around barely touched platters of hamburgers and fries on a recent Friday afternoon, oblivious to the deli manager’s harried attempts to close out the cash register ahead of the rapidly declining sun. One of the teens remembers to return a blue-and-white kipah the restaurant keeps on hand in case a customer forgets to bring his own. “I’m leaving in exactly seven minutes,” the manager says politely but firmly. “Come back anytime after Shabbat.”
On Feb. 6, Shlomo Cohen, Israel’s ambassador in Caracas, Venezuela’s capital city, received an unwelcome and distressing phone call. The government of Venezuela was expelling all Israeli diplomats and staff — they had 72 hours to leave the country.
Venezuelan Jews historically have enjoyed positive relations with the Venezuelan government. It is precisely because of the embracing nature of Venezuelan society toward the Jewish people that the recent anti-Semitism cloaked in anti-Israel and anti-Zionist terms is so disturbing.
None of the 1,500 children at a Jewish day school in Caracas will forget drop-off on the morning of Nov. 29. On that morning last week, 25 government investigators, some of them armed and hooded, intercepted busloads of kids and turned them away.