Adios to Cuba and shalom to Israel

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The news of the secret exodus of Cuban Jews to Israel is something we should rejoice over. Still another dictator has opened his gates to the age-old cry of "Let My People Go."

And like the ancient Jews of Egypt, the Jews of Cuba are also going to the Land of Milk and Honey, where they can once again practice their Judaism without discrimination.

Israel has become a melting pot of Jews from all over the world. Some speak Russian, some Farsi, some Arabic, some Amharic and some English, and now even more will speak Spanish.

Although Israelis may come from different cultures and speak different languages, they have one important thing in common — their Judaism.

Whether religious or secular, we Jews have a unique commonality. When three of us get together, we may have four opinions, but in many ways we are more alike than different. We share values. We believe in tzedakah (charity) and in tikkun olam (building a better world). We share a heritage.

Like many Jews who preceded them to Israel, the Cuban Jews are sure to find the immigration process difficult. They have a new language to learn. They need to start their careers over again in a much more technological and modern society than they had lived in. It will all take time and patience.

But the end result will be that most Cuban Jews, like those who immigrated before them, will integrate into Israeli life.

Is there a downside to all this? Yes and it's one we should all be aware of. Cuba will join other nations of the world that are now Judenrein — devoid of Jews. Hitler's goal — making his country free of Jews — is now happening in other lands.

While we can be happy that Jews have exited from such countries as Iran, Iraq and Syria, we are entering an era when many people of the world won't know what a Jew looks like. It becomes easier to hate the people you don't know.

So we need to temper our joy about the Cuban exodus with the reality that another corner of the world, the Jews will be gone.