Chief Rabbi Lau Presented The Late Cuban President With A Shofar


1Former Chief Rabbi of Israel and current Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv Yisrael Meir Lau Shlita presented the late President of Cuba, Mr. Fidel Castro, a shofar decorated with 925 sterling silver.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


  1. so what benefit did Lau get from mollycoddling a tyrannical bloodthirsty savage anti religion murderous robbing revolutionary dictator with delusions of godhood?

    did Jews in Cuba benefit with being able to escape from the communist atheistic hellhole? I’d like to know.

  2. Rabbi Lau recounts in his memoir the story of his visit to Cuba when he was Chief Rabbi of Israel. He had long been interested in the fate of Jewish communities around the world, and when on a visit to Uruguay, he took advantage of the fact that the Chief Rabbi of Uruguay made periodic visits to service the needs of the remaining Cuban Jewish community, and was able to visit himself. Although he didn’t expect to meet Castro, he came prepared with a gift just in case.
    As it turned out, Castro invited him for a visit at his palace, and Rabbi Lau spent over 3 hours (!) in conversation with Castro. His account of their discussion is absolutely fascinating, and is must reading! I won’t spoil it by detailing it here.
    (Not sure if it’s all in the English edition, but certainly in the Hebrew original.)

    I will point out, for the benefit of ignorant commenters or interested readers, that as in all his meetings with world leaders, Rabbi Lau did ask for specific things that would make life better for Jews, and in Castro’s case, one of his requests which was granted was to allow matzos to be imported for Pesach.

  3. TishMa! Why the YWN presented this picture is a true Question, but everyone should understand that if Rav Lau did this, there must be A GOOD REASON, probably an inyan of hatzolas nifoshos.
    It would be nice if YWN would show more professionalism and NOT STAM do things like this

  4. Rav Lau also had the shofar’s case engraved with the words: “T’ka B’Shofar Gadol L’Cheirusenu” as a hint requesting greater freedom for our people, including freedom to emigrate. He then translated the pasuk for Castro, which might be what he’s doing in the picture.

    And it was the Rav Brenner, the Rav of Venezuela, not Uruguay, who accompanied Rav Lau on the trip, and who can be seen in the photo.

    After Castro agreed to allow matzos to be brought in (as long as they didn’t come from the USA!), Rav Lau ventured to go a step further and asked for kosher meat to be imported as well. At this, Castro exploded, saying, “The gentiles in Cuba don’t have meat either! If I allow the Jews to have meat, I’ll have a revolt on my hands! Matzoh is a religious product, but kosher meat? That’s food!” Rav Lau saw that he had gone too far and dropped the request.