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  • Alan Gross opens up about surviving Cuban prison, selfies

    December 31, 2015 | 9:10 am

    Since being imprisoned in Cuba six years ago, Alan Gross says his life has been “surreal.”

    He feels disassociated from the causes of his five-year incarceration and from the resulting fame. He was locked up largely because of U.S.-Cuba relations, he says, and he is a public...

  • Chicago mayor cuts short vacation after latest police shooting

    December 28, 2015 | 12:57 pm

    Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said on Monday he would cut his family vacation in Cuba short to address the fatal shooting of two more black residents by a city police department already under federal investigation over its use of deadly force.

    The decision comes after activists...

  • Tales of Cuba, up close and personal

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    December 3, 2015 | 11:34 am

    Leila Segal is a woman of many gifts and passions. Trained as a barrister, she is today an accomplished writer, poet and photographer, a community activist in London and an advocate for the disempowered around the world. Not surprisingly, she was powerfully drawn to Cuba, where she...

  • Alan Gross: Memory of Holocaust survivor relatives got me through prison

    November 27, 2015 | 11:05 am

    Alan Gross, the American Jewish government contractor who spent five years in Cuban prison, said thinking of his family members who survived the Holocaust was one of three things that helped him get through the ordeal.

    Gross told CBS news program “60 Minutes” in footage released...

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  • Turned away in 1939: The voyage of the MS St. Louis

    By Jared Sichel

    June 4, 2015 | 11:00 am

    Hans Fisher vividly remembers his excitement on May 27, 1939, the day the MS St. Louis and its 937 refugees, most of them German Jews, reached Havana’s harbor in Cuba two weeks after leaving Hamburg, Germany.

    “On that day, we got up early, all our luggage was packed. We put it in...

  • Cuba: Cycling into the Past and Future

    April 26, 2015 | 11:07 am

    My father, usually a quiet man, burst through the door and hustled the family in front of the television set. He said we were on the verge of something terrible and we needed to see and understand. It was October 22, 1962. My father, a career officer at the C.I.A., seemed...

  • Obama tells Congress he plans to remove Cuba from terrorism list

    April 14, 2015 | 3:51 pm

    President Barack Obama told Congress on Tuesday he intends to remove Cuba from a U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism, clearing the way for restoring diplomatic relations and reopening embassies shut for more than half a century.

    Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro sat down...

  • Supreme Court rejects Alan Gross’ appeal in suit vs. U.S.

    April 6, 2015 | 2:47 pm

    The U.S. Supreme Court rejected Alan Gross’ appeal in a $60 million lawsuit he filed against the U.S. government.

    On Monday, the high court rejected the appeal of the Jewish-American contractor, who spent five years in a Cuban prison, Reuters reported.

    Gross and his wife sued...

  • For Cuban Jews, improved ties to U.S. may not resolve central challenges

    January 26, 2015 | 11:54 am

    On a recent Friday night inside this city’s Beth Shalom synagogue, Aliet Ashkenazi, 25, stood draped in a blue-and-white prayer shawl leading prayers in a mix of Spanish and near-perfect Hebrew.

    It was the first time she had ever led services – a feat considering she converted to...

  • Alan and Judy Gross to attend State of the Union as Obama guests

    January 20, 2015 | 12:06 pm

    Alan Gross and his wife, Judy, will be guests of first lady Michelle Obama at President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address.

    Gross, a subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development, was released from a Cuban jail on Dec. 17 after spending five years...

  • For a Jewish baseball purist, Cuba beckons

    December 29, 2014 | 10:02 am

    To the dismay of baseball fan Kit Krieger, future travels to Cuba will no longer include get-togethers with ex-Washington Senators pitcher Connie Marrero.

    Marrero, who played for Washington from 1950 to 1954, died in Havana last April at age 102, a few months after Krieger’s last...

  • For Cuban Jews in America, rapprochement with Castro regime a perilous choice

    December 19, 2014 | 8:54 am

    For many Cuban Jews – the majority of whom now live in the United States – it has been a bittersweet week.

    Like countless Jews around the world, they cheered the release of Alan Gross, the American Jewish telecommunications contractor who had been held in a Cuban prison for the...

  • Gross’ release, and changes in diplomatic ties, signals new day for Cuban Jews

    December 18, 2014 | 8:47 am

    Alan Gross was imprisoned while trying to connect Cuba’s isolated Jewish community to the wider world. The deal that got him released five years later may do just that and much more.

    Gross’ flight home to suburban Washington on Wednesday with his wife, Judy, was part of a...

  • Six points on Alan Gross, ‘normalization’ of U.S.-Cuba relations and the American spy flying under the radar

    By Jared Sichel

    December 17, 2014 | 3:59 pm

    The news on Dec. 17 about the sudden thaw in diplomatic relations between Washington and Havana was so surprising that we really won’t know for months — or years — what the impact will be. In the meantime, here are seven key points about the deal:

    1. The timing made sense.

    ...
  • Remarks by Obama at afternoon Chanukah reception

    December 17, 2014 | 2:19 pm

    AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Happy Hanukkah, Mr. President!  

    THE PRESIDENT:  Well, Happy Hanukkah to you!  You stole my line.   Happy Hanukkah, everybody. 

    AUDIENCE:  Happy Hannukah.

    MRS. OBAMA:  Welcome to the White House.  I want to welcome the members of Congress who are here...

  • Alan Gross credits Jewish efforts for his release from Cuba

    December 17, 2014 | 1:39 pm

    Newly released from prison in Cuba, Alan Gross thanked his wife, his lawyer, the Jewish community, President Barack Obama and numerous others in helping secure his freedom.

    Speaking at a news conference Wednesday in Washington, Gross opened his statement with a Hanukkah greeting...

  • Gross’ release, and changes in diplomatic ties, signals new day for Cuban Jews

    December 17, 2014 | 1:19 pm

    Alan Gross was imprisoned while trying to connect Cuba’s isolated Jewish community to the wider world. The deal that got him released five years later may do just that and much more.

    Gross’ flight home to suburban Washington on Wednesday with his wife, Judy, was part of a...

  • Who is Alan Gross and what did he do?

    December 17, 2014 | 11:49 am

    Alan Gross, a 65-year-old U.S. foreign aid worker freed from a Cuban prison on Wednesday, was arrested in Cuba in 2009 and sentenced to 15 years for importing banned technology and trying to establish clandestine Internet service for Cuban Jews.

    [Related: An in-depth look into...

  • Freed prisoner Alan Gross loves Judaism

    By Ryan Torok

    December 17, 2014 | 11:13 am

    Alan Gross was freed from a Cuban prison on Wednesday after five years, much of that time in isolation. His release was part of a prisoner exchange deal between Cuba and the United States that President Barack Obama announced marks the start of improved relations between the two...

  • Jewish community responds to release of Alan Gross

    December 17, 2014 | 10:03 am

    Cuba has released American aid worker Alan Gross after five years in prison in a reported prisoner exchange with Havana that the United States said on Wednesday heralds an overhaul of U.S. policy toward Cuba. Below are reactions from the Jewish community:

    Simon Wiesenthal Center

    ...
  • Cuba releases American Alan Gross as U.S. prepares to overhaul Cuba policy

    December 17, 2014 | 7:01 am

    Cuba has released American aid worker Alan Gross after five years in prison in a reported prisoner exchange with Havana that the United States said on Wednesday heralds an overhaul of U.S. policy toward Cuba.

    A U.S. official said Gross was released on humanitarian grounds. CNN...

  • Obama: ‘Conversations’ about freeing Alan Gross have been ongoing

    December 11, 2014 | 9:33 am

    President Obama said the United States has been “in conversations” about trying to free American-Jewish contractor Alan Gross from a Cuban jail.

    “We’ve been in conversations about how we can get Alan Gross home for quite some time,” Obama told Jorge Ramos of the Florida-based...

  • Appeals court upholds dismissal of Alan Gross lawsuit against U.S.

    November 17, 2014 | 9:20 am

    A federal appeals court upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit filed against the U.S. government by Alan Gross, the American-Jewish contractor imprisoned in Cuba since 2009.

    In a 3-0 decision Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said the government...

  • U.S. senator sees Alan Gross as ‘closer’ to release

    November 11, 2014 | 4:20 pm

    Alan Gross, an American government contractor jailed in Cuba for crimes against the state may be closer to returning home, in part because he has threatened to end his life if he is not released, a U.S. senator said on Tuesday.

    The detention of Gross since December 2009 has...

  • THE FORGOTTEN MAN

    By Jared Sichel

    November 5, 2014 | 10:36 am

    UPDATE [Dec. 17, 2014]: Cuba releases American Alan Gross


     

    Alan Gross is almost out of hope.  

    In late November 2009, Gross, a technology consultant from Potomac, Md., left the United States for Cuba for his fifth trip there in eight months, a trip that was supposed to last...

  • Fulfill the mandates of Rosh Hashanah by saving Alan Gross

    September 10, 2014 | 1:30 pm

    During the period known as the High Holy Days, we think about how we can better ourselves, serve our families, our friends and our communities, and we begin anew to reflect on the moral teachings of our people and our religion. Among those teachings are the concepts of pikuach...

  • American jailed in Cuba plans suicide, lawyer says

    June 25, 2014 | 4:48 pm

    A U.S. foreign aid contractor jailed in Cuba is planning suicide as his health declines and he grows increasingly depressed, his lawyer said on Wednesday.

    Alan Gross, 65, has served 4-1/2 years of his 15-year sentence for illegally attempting to establish an online network for...

  • Wife of Alan Gross invokes Taliban-POW trade following prison visit

    June 25, 2014 | 4:05 pm

    The wife of Alan Gross visited her husband in a Cuban prison, then likened his plight to an American prisoner of war traded for five Taliban members.

    “If we can trade five members of the Taliban to bring home one American soldier, surely we can figure out a path forward to bring...

  • Mother of Alan Gross dies

    June 18, 2014 | 3:03 pm

    The mother of Alan Gross, the Jewish-American contractor imprisoned in Cuba, has died.

    Evelyn Gross died Wednesday in Plano, Texas, according to a statement by Emily Black, a spokeswoman for the Gross family. She had long been suffering from cancer. She was 92.

    “This is a...

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