On the death of Fidel Castro

Fidel Castro at a rally on May 1, 2005. (Photo: Vandrad/Wikimedia Commons)

I have lived my whole life in the shadow of this man’s brutality. He shaped my family’s history and my future. I will always be an exile and an immigrant.

Since the age of 4, I was very aware of evil, of hatred, of injustice, of bullies, of death, and the pain of separation from loved ones. My grandmother died due to insulin rationing and a cousin was shot in the back for stealing a liter of milk for his child. I heard these things daily in my home. We participated in protest marches and anti-Castro activities. Stopping Castro was a family obsession. With the communist regime and WWII in the background, my father had no belief in a god who had any mercy. The only religion my mother knew was the Catholic Church. For a time I was made to be a part of a parochial school, which also was a form of brainwashing.

I was always the different kid. The one with the accent, the one with the huge family, the one with weird food. Always separated out.

I was finally able to leave it behind in my late teens and reinvent myself by skipping past my parents to my great-grandparents. Who were they? What was their history?

My great-grandparents were also immigrants, but they immigrated from Spain, Germany, France and Italy to Cuba. They were also exiles, but for different reasons. Several of them were Jews. Some of them had intermarried and most of them were not religious.

This revelation led me to return to my real roots, my spiritual roots. And my rebirth as a Jew.

For 15 years I lived an observant Jewish life style, involved with my synagogue and the Jewish community exclusively. I kept rabbinically kosher and went to shul every shabbat. Between 1986-1987 my mother passed away at the age of 57 and my 13-year marriage came to an end.

I was working as the program coordinator for the Jewish community center. On December 26, 1987 at a Jewish singles Chanukah party, which I had organized, I met my lifemate, Larry. Little did I know that he was a follower of Yeshua.

As a Jew, Yeshua was not someone I could allow into my life.

He was the cause of so much Jewish suffering. To embrace his teachings would be a slap in the face to my rabbi, my friends, and all those who suffered persecution in his name through the Catholic church, which he had apparently begun.

I asked my rabbi about Yeshua, not Jesus. Could he be the real Messiah? And if he is, why don’t we accept him?

The rabbi’s response?

“If we accept him now, we are admitting that we have been wrong for 2000 years!”

I was in shock….

We are talking about truth here, not pride and covering up a mistake. If we were wrong we should make it right!

But he was sure Judaism would disappear if we accepted Yeshua as the Messiah that we had been waiting for.

The Catholics made him dissappear didn’t they? Jesus is unrecognizable as a Jew.

Through 18 months of searching, studying and praying to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, I finally got to the end of myself. I begged God to speak to me! I needed to know the truth according to His plan, not man’s.

And indeed, He revealed Himself to me in a beautiful way! As soon as I submitted to Him as my God and my Savior, I was changed from the inside in seconds!

Now, with the death of Fidel I feel another season of change is about to begin for me. I have no idea what it looks like yet, but i’m sure it will be awesome.

My past has been redeemed, my Jewish roots have been redeemed and through me, my heritage has been returned to Israel.

I would not be who I am today without my Cuban heritage either.

So, thank you Yeshua for making me who I am today.