Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that he will tour four Latin American nations in January.
During the Sandinista's regime, the country's synagogue, damaged in a 1978 fire, was converted into a secular school. It is being used now as a funeral home. The country's Torah remains in exile in Costa Rica.
During Ortega's last stint in power, as head of the left-wing revolutionary government from 1979-90, the entire Jewish community fled into exile while the Sandinistas built cozy relations with the PLO and other anti-Israel groups and allied themselves closely with Cuba.Now, 16 years later, just as the community is on the verge of restoring itself to its pre-revolution levels, the Sandinistas have narrowly won a new chance at heading this impoverished Central American nation.
If someone had turned on the radio in Mulukuku, Nicaragua, on May 28, 2005, they would have heard "Hatikvah," the Israeli national anthem. There is no Jewish community in this village of 7,000. In fact, there is not normally even a single Jew. But for one week at the end of May, there were 14 of us.
Our group was in the most impoverished region of Nicaragua as part of a joint project between The Jewish Federation and American Jewish World Service. The goal: to help alleviate poverty, hunger and disease among all the people of the world. It was an imperative that I took very seriously, and one that compelled me to step out of my Los Angeles life of privilege and material comfort into a world where those two terms are largely devoid of meaning.