Havana, Dec 6. -President Raul Castro joined the Cuban Hebrew community to celebrate Hanukkah at Havanaâ�Ös main synagogue, and conveyed to the participants his best wishes.
"We feel extremely happy and proud by participating in this festivity with you, and I hope to be back to know more about the Hebrew Community in Cuba and about the fabulous stories of the Hebrew people", Raul Castro told the congregation.
As part of the ceremony, the president was invited to kindle the first light of Hanukkah.
Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE.
The festivity is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar.
The Cuban president recalled that a day like today, December 5th, fifty four years ago, the expeditionaries of the Granma yacht fought their first clash with the enemy after landing on Las Coloradas beach, eastern Cuba.
Adela Dworin, chairwoman of the Cuban Hebrew Community, presented Raul Castro with a Jumash, a compendium of the five books of the Torah, the sacred book of Judaism, as a souvenir of his presence in the fifth day of Hanukkah of the year 5771.
During the celebration a short video was screened to remember the participation of the leader of the Cuban revolution, Fidel Castro, in the Hebrew Festival of the Lights of December 20th, 1998.
Among other guests at this yearâ�Ös festivity were the historian of the city, Eusebio Leal; Episcopal reverend Pablo Oden Marichal, who is the executive secretary of the Council of Churches of Cuba, and Raul Suarez, director of the Martin Luther King Memorial Center.
Also representing the government was Caridad Diego, head of the Religious Affairs Office of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party. (Prensa Latina)