Leaders of the tiny Jewish community of Cuba on Rosh Hashana met with jailed
Jewish-American Alan Gross, they said an e-mail over the weekend.
Dworin and David Prinstein told press that they spent time with the Maryland
native who has been jailed for almost two years on charges of “undermining the
state.” Prinstein and Dworin said Gross looked gaunt and weak yet he voiced
concern over the health of his family in the US.
“We gave him a promise
to have them present in our prayers for a quick recovery,” they were quoted as
The Jewish leaders said their meeting ended with exchanges of
“Shalom” and “Shana Tova” with the prisoner.
The 62-year-old Gross was
arrested in 2009 for bringing satellite phones into Cuba. He said the
phones were meant to establish a communications center for the local Jewish
community on behalf of USAID, a governmental relief group. But local authorities
say the program was an attempt to undermine the government in Havana headed by
the Castros for decades.
Hopes that Gross might be freed soon were
recently dashed after an unsuccessful visit by former New Mexico governor Bill
Richardson. The former US envoy went to Havana last month to negotiate
his release but left empty-handed amid mutual accusations with Cuba over the
failure of talks.