Beth Shalom Synagogue, built in 1952, is a synagogue located in the Vedado neighbourhood of downtown Havana. In 1981, much of the original building was sold to the state, and was then turned into the Bertolt Brecht Cultural Center, including a theatre, a music venue, a gallery and a bar. Only part of the structure remains in Jewish hands today. Extensive repairs were undertaken in the 1990s. Beth Shalom is considered the headquarters of the Cuban Jewish Community. The building also houses a Jewish library.
Adath Israel is the city's Orthodox synagogue, sitting almost unnoticeableon a crowded, narrow street in the Old Havana district. After WWI, there was only the Ashkenazi synagogue in Havana, the United Hebrew Congregation. Religiously, it was very liberal with a wealthy, English-speaking membership. This was not a comfortable place for the Yiddish-speaking immigrants from Eastern Europe to worship. In 1923, a Lithuanian immigrant, Ben Zion Sofer, started a minyan in his apartment at Calle Paola No. 17. By 1925, the minyan developed into Congregation Adath Israel, located on the second floor of Calle Jesús María 103. The shul was basic, but served the congregants. The majority of Ashkenazi immigrants were not strictly observant; therefore, Adath Israel was only nominally Orthodox. The prayer services were traditional. Eventually it was decided to build the new synagogue in Vedado, the heart of the Jewish Quarter of Habana Vieja (old Havana). Architect, Oscar Baisman, and construction engineer, Jacinto Feh Leonard, constructed a modern sanctuary with seating for six hundred people, a chapel and a reception hall. The cornerstone for the $100,000 synagogue was laid in April of 1956 and it was completed on October 9, 1959. Monies were recently been granted to renovate the area, which included the synagogue. The Havana Restoration Commission worked with Jorge Herrera on plans regarding the synagogue restoration, which included full restoration of the sanctuary and an innovative frame for the roof to be used for celebrating Sukkot. Most of the money for the synagogue restoration was donated by wealthy businessmen from Panama and Venezuela. Currently, there are 400 members in the congregation. The congregation has a program to supply vitamins, some medications and toiletries to members who are in need and live nearby. Adath Israel has remained intact through the years, its doors have never closed, carrying out the religious services of Shajarit, Minja and Arvit daily, maintaining alive the traditions of our Fathers.
In 2007 Centro Hebreo Sefaradi Synagogue was described as "the only remaining institutional legacy of the Sephardic presence in Cuba.” Construction originally began in 1957 and the synagogue was completed in 1960 with a 726-seat sanctuary. The main sanctuary was later rented out to the Afro-Cuban band Síntesis for their rehearsals while weekly religious services were held in a small room next door. As of 2010, the synagogue had eighty families constituting 320 members. The majority of congregants were 60 or older. Centro Hebro is affiliated with the Conservative Jewish movement in the United States. There is a small Holocaust memorial at the synagogue with quotations from José Martí. Image Attribution: Lebrsm, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
The first exhibit about the Holocaust displayed in Cuba opened December 18 at the Centro Sephardi in Havana. The exhibit, “We Remember – The Holocaust and the Creation of a Living Community,” shines a light on the Cuban Jewish experience of the Holocaust and raises awareness that a small Jewish community makes Cuba its home. “The opening of this exhibit marks a very important moment for the Cuban Jewish community,” said Mayra Levy, president of the Sephardic Center. “We welcome this exhibit which focuses on the origins of the Cuban Jewish community and the impact of the Holocaust. We also welcome our fellow Cubans and visitors to our island learning more about our community today.”
The United Hebrew Congregation Cemetery (Centro Macabeo Cemetery) was established 1906 by the United Hebrew Congregation of Cuba anc contains about 1,000 graves.