I was alone in a small town in central Cuba, and I had lost the only person I knew. The town was Santo Domingo, and it had taken a full morning of driving to get there. It’s a sleepy, slow-moving place, where American cars from the 1950s share the road with horse-drawn carts — and many of those carts act as taxis.
I just returned from a week in Cuba on a people-to-people exchange tour to meet with members of Jewish communities in several cities and to learn about the country.
Writers as varied as Shakespeare and Sir Walter Scott have written of the exotic beauty of Jewish women. But what about Jewish men?
Tourist Cuba is a bit like a time-machine ride through a Cold War theme park. Vintage Detroit autos rumble past charming Havana hotels refurbished to their pre-revolutionary glory. Posters for featured movies at a film festival keep company with ones that blare slogans like, "La Revolucion Siempre," or the revolution always.
Yet, when Roe Gruber and her daughter took a Havana apartment for a month last summer, the Tustin residents were able to escape the tourist cocoon. They learned new skills, like coping with Third World shortages by offering bribes for tomatoes and theater tickets.