Thursday, June 16, 2011

Haiti’s Jewish Remnant Keeps the Faith and Lends a Hand Amid the Crisis – Forward.com

Haiti’s Jewish Remnant Keeps the Faith and Lends a Hand Amid the Crisis – Forward.com

Each year on Yom Kippur, Rudolph Dana locks himself in his Pétionville, Haiti, home — protected by guard dogs and security personnel — and passes the Day of Atonement fasting, praying and reciting the traditional liturgy of repentance and forgiveness.
Up until about 10 years ago, Haiti’s tiny Jewish community would gather in a home on Yom Kippur and pray alongside a video recording of a Yom Kippur service that Dana’s brother-in-law, a cantor at a New Jersey synagogue, had mailed to him. But in recent years, the community has become too small and disjointed to warrant even such modest holiday gatherings.
When the catastrophic, 7.0-magnitude earthquake shook Haiti on January 12, Dana happened to be in Miami on business. In the days since the quake — which leveled much of the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince and the surrounding areas, including Pétionville — Dana, 61, who owns a propane-distribution company, has been on the phone and Internet around the clock, trying to make contact with friends and his nearly 500 employees.

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