Jose Miller, Cuban Jewish Leader, 80

Published March 24, 2006, issue of March 24, 2006.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Dr. Jose Miller, president of Cuba’s tiny Jewish community, died February 27 at age 80.

Eddie Levy, chairman of the South Florida organization Jewish Solidarity, told the Miami Herald: “If there is a Jewish community in Cuba, it’s because of his leadership. It was his job, his work, his life.”

Miller was born in Sancti Spiritus province in 1925; his parents had moved to Cuba from Lithuania in the early 1900s. He studied dentistry at the University of Havana and was considered one of the island nation’s best specialists in facial reconstruction surgery.

Since 1981, Miller also had been president of the Patronato, a large synagogue in Havana’s once-fashionable Vedado district. After a heart attack forced him to retire in 1994, Miller dedicated himself to saving Cuba’s dwindling Jewish community from extinction.

He managed to revive smaller synagogues in Camaguey and in Santiago de Cuba. But he was criticized by Cuban exiles in Miami for refusing to support the anti-Castro dissident movement or to speak out against repression in Cuba.

“We’re not pro-Castro or anti-Castro here,” Miller said in a 2003 interview. “If someone wants to be a dissident, let him be one — but not inside the Patronato.”






Find us on Facebook!
  • Sigal Samuel's family amulet isn't just rumored to have magical powers. It's also a symbol of how Jewish and Indian rituals became intertwined over the centuries. http://jd.fo/a3BvD Only three days left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • British Jews are having their 'Open Hillel' moment. Do you think Israel advocacy on campus runs the risk of excluding some Jewish students?
  • "What I didn’t realize before my trip was that I would leave Uganda with a powerful mandate on my shoulders — almost as if I had personally left Egypt."
  • Is it better to have a young, fresh rabbi, or a rabbi who stays with the same congregation for a long time? What do you think?
  • Why does the leader of Israel's social protest movement now work in a beauty parlor instead of the Knesset?
  • What's it like to be Chagall's granddaughter?
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.