October 25, 2020

Jewish life grows on the Cayman Islands


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By Ashira Weiss From Chabad Lubavitch

Opening of new Jewish Community Center marks milestone of growth on the Caribbean Island

For long time Caymanians and the Islands’ newer Jewish immigrants, the recent opening of a new Chabad House represents a noteworthy milestone.

Steve Cummins is a local Jewish businessman who grew up attending the Isaac M Wise Conservative Temple in Cincinnati, Ohio. After years of hosting communal events and doing his best to keep Jewish life alive on the Cayman Islands, he knew he needed to bring in an expert. “We’re just laymen and we’d taken it as far as we could,” he explains. Steve made a deal with a friend and they set a budget and a deadline, within five years they would have a Rabbi.

In 2011, after interviewing rabbis from different Jewish backgrounds, they invited Rabbi Berel and Rikal Pewzner to lead the Cayman Islands Jewish Community.

The couple soon founded the , which has since seen its enrollment grow to sixteen–a significant number for this community. They’ve also started a playgroup for younger children and have formed relationships with many of the Islands’ approximately five hundred Jewish residents.

With the May opening of the new Chabad Cayman Jewish Community Center, they’ve moved the activities out of their home. Centrally situated near the Seven Mile Beaches–popular with tourists and locals–the new center opened to great fanfare. A , the new Gan Eden Preschool set to open in the Fall, the Cayman Hebrew School and a CTeen Chapter will make their home in the new center.

Rikal expects to develop additional children’s programming. “We have to educate the kids while they are young.” At the moment, sixty kids under the age of twelve are involved in one of Chabad’s children’s programs.

sees this as one more step towards making the Islands a preferred destination for Jewish travelers. “People don’t realise that local Jewish life is thriving here,” he says.

The Pewzners still run Shabbat and holiday services from their home, dubbed the Beit Hillel Chabad House. They have already received planning permission to build a mikva on the grounds of the Chabad House, and have recently dedicated the Islands’ first .

“Rabbi Berel and Rikal have been a blessing beyond a blessing and I can’t express how positive their presence has been for our community” says Steve.


Rabbi Berel and Rikal Pewzner at the opening of the Chabad Cayman Jewish Community Center

Community members gather for Tashlich at Steve’s house in 2008

Grand Cayman Beach

For more on this story go to: http://lubavitch.com/news/article/2081053/Jewish-Life-Grows-on-the-Cayman-Islands.html

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