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Cuban Cigars: World’s Finest Smokes

When Jack Nicholson switched from cigarettes to cigars, he purportedly declared, “The only way to break a bad habit was to replace it with a better habit.” Cigars have long held an allure far beyond the Caribbean Islands, but their history begins there. Christopher Columbus and his crew encountered, and enjoyed, tobacco first when they landed the island of Hispaniola, the present-day Dominican Republic.



Exploring a Shared History: The U.S. and Cuba

President Barack Obama’s December 2014 statement that the United States would reestablish diplomatic relations with Cuba has many people wondering: How did the U.S. and Cuba get along before the embargo? How has their relationship changed over time?



Jewish Groups in Cuba

At Havana’s three synagogues, congregations share Shabbat dinners, familiar songs, services and commaraderie. In far-flung island communities, small numbers of Jews band together to keep traditions alive. When you visit a Jewish house of worship here, you’ll likely feel an instant connection with people who share your traditions and welcome you without reservation.



How Cuba’s Provinces Got Their Names

Before you see this island nation, once off-limits to Americans, for yourself, you might find it useful to learn a bit about the history of its geography.

The 1600s and 1700s

Cuba began with just two jurisdictions: La Habana and Santiago. Each province held equal power and ranking. However, as La Habana grew, Santiago came to depend on it increasingly for protection. 

In the late 1700s, nine jurisdictions were created: 



Our Girl in Havana: Cuba Libre

When I first arrived in Havana I knew nothing of the Cuban War of Independence. I had a hazy recollection of learning about the sinking of the USS Maine, and that Cuba had played some part in the Spanish-American War (note: no mention of Cuba in the title).



Havana by night: mojitos at Hotel Nacional de Cuba

Cubans say the best mojitos in Havana are to be found at Hotel Nacional de Cuba. Selling for 4.5 CUC, a prohibitive price for any local Cuban, they are also the most expensive. One sleepless night in Havana, I went to check for myself.