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Experience Simchat Torah in Cuba: Rerolling Our Scrolls—Visit the Cuban Jewish Community as it Ends an Era and Begins Anew

Experience Simchat Torah in Cuba: Rerolling Our Scrolls—Visit the Cuban Jewish Community as it Ends an Era and Begins Anew

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Immerse ourselves into the culture, traditions, and history of the Jewish Cuba community. Experience the last chance to see Cuba of the past 50 years as it’s on the cusp of beginning a new era. Experience the sights and sounds of a different culture as we bond with our own community.

Celebrate Simchat Torah in Cuba. As our cycle of Torah begins anew, let that be a guide for our new year – new country, new communities, new hope, and new friends.

  • Explore one of the oldest and most unique Jewish communities in the New World – visit the sites, but more importantly, learn from the people.
  • See Cuba in a time of immense transition – as a country politically and also for the Jewish community.
  • Travel with Peninsula Temple Beth El and Congregation Beth Am.

Space on this trip is limited!!

There is currently a waitlist for travelers. If you are interested in joining this trip and would like your name added to the waitlist, please contact Danielle DiVerde ([email protected], 703-349-1554).

 

$4,177 per person

Trip Includes

  • Round-trip airfare between Miami and Havana, including group check-in, VIP service at Miami International Airport, and fees for 1 checked bag per person
  • 7 Nights lodging at Hotel Capri (Havana), Hotel Jagua (Cienfuegos), and Embassy Suites Hotel (Miami) or similar accommodations (double occupancy)
  • 1 Full-time bilingual guide
  • Private bus and driver, including airport transfers
  • Breakfast every day
  • 11 Additional meals, as indicated on itinerary
  • All speakers, sites, and entrance fees
  • Cuban medical insurance
  • Cuban visa
  • U.S. and Cuban departure taxes
  • Dedicated customer service representative

Trip Does Not Include

  • Domestic airfare to and from Miami
  • Travel cancelation insurance STRONGLY RECOMMENDED
  • Customary tips to drivers, guides, and hotel staff
  • Additional meals, snacks, and water bottles
  • Single Supplement ($429)
  • Anything not explicitly mentioned in "Trip Includes" section

Resources

Initial Deposit: Due at time of registration.

Final Payment: Final payment is due 45 days prior to departure.

Prices: Prices are per person and are based upon shared twin room occupancy (unless otherwise noted). In case of human or computer error, MEJDI LLC reserves the right to re-invoice for the correct price or service. A full refund will be made to passengers who choose not to pay an increase, provided MEJDI LLC a written cancellation within five days of the price increase notification.

Cancellation Policy: Cancellation in writing or email must be received by MEJDI LLC for appropriate refund minus the following fees.
120+ Days Prior: 50% of per person deposits received
120-61 Days Prior: $300 per person deposit
60-21 Days Prior: 80% of tour cost
20 Days Prior or Less: 100% of tour cost

Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is not included in the tour price. MEJDI LLC strongly recommends the purchase of comprehensive travel insurance package, which covers health, lost luggage, trip cancellation and trip interruption. Please note that we cannot accept responsibility for any losses or expenses, which you or any member of your party may incur as a result of failing to secure adequate coverage. We can recommend travel insurance companies upon request.

Passport and Documentation: Your passport must be valid for at least six months following your entry date to your travel destination. MEJDI LLC is not responsible to provide any travel documents to any of our destinations, including visas. It is the sole responsibility of the traveler to confirm with the consulate of each country visited, about any necessary travel documentation/visas required to enter these countries.

Airlines and Air Tickets: Passengers are responsible to ensure MEJDI LLC has the correctly spelled names for air tickets reservations. Due to newly introduced security measures, any name change including minor spelling corrections may require airline reservations to be canceled and re-booked. MEJDI LLC will not be held responsible for the denial of services by a carrier due to any name discrepancy. Subsequent name corrections will be subject to an airline re-booking fee of up to $300 per ticket. Air reservations are subject to availability at the time of re-booking. All airline tickets issued in conjunction with this tour are subject to air penalties per individual carrier’s rules and regulations which will be applied. In the case of tour cancellation for any reason, we will not be responsible for refunds for airline tickets or change fees. This applies to retail purchases and those bought through an agent.

Airport Taxes and Fees: All airline tickets are subject to a variety of foreign and domestic government taxes which include security charges, the September 11th Security Fee, airport facility charges, customs and immigration fees, inspection fees, fuel surcharges and more. Taxes and fees are subject to change. Airport taxes & fees which appear on the invoice reflect the taxes and fees that are applicable when the original reservation is completed. These taxes and fees may vary prior to airline tickets being issued. We reserve the right to amend the airport taxes & fees to reflect any changes prior to ticketing.

Baggage: Luggage is the responsibility of the passenger/s and that of the airlines. For lost/delayed luggage claims, the passenger is responsible for notifying the airline directly. If travel insurance policy was purchased, all damage/ loss must be reported at time of incident and documented in writing by local authorities for submission to the insurance company. As all airlines differ and restrictions change periodically, we recommend that you call the airline directly with questions about your baggage allowance. MEJDI LLC shall not be held responsible for any delay or damage to or loss of luggage and/or personal items.

Tour Itinerary: MEJDI LLC reserves the right to change the itinerary due to unforeseen circumstances. In all cases, MEJDI LLC will do its best to maintain the content of the tour. If the tour services as indicated by the itinerary cannot be supplied or there are changes in the itinerary for reasons beyond the control of MEJDI LLC we will arrange for provision of comparable services. MEJDI LLC reserves the right to make changes in the itinerary whenever MEJDI LLC deems it necessary to the comfort, convenience and safety of the participant at any time. No refund will be paid for unused services such as: transfers, sightseeing, meals, hotel accommodation, entrance fees, and others that are listed in the tour program.

Meals: Meals are based on the hotel's or restaurant's buffet or set menu. In general, beverages are not included, unless specifically stated.

Hotels Accommodation: Hotels will be provided in accordance with the itinerary or similar. We reserve the right to make substitutions with hotels of equal standard. There will be no refunds for any difference in the cost of those accommodations. All rooms are standard twin-bedded rooms with private facilities, unless you have specifically requested and paid for an upgraded room category. Special requests such as bed types, smoking preference and connecting rooms are subject to availability. Room selection in all cases, unless otherwise reserved, is strictly at the discretion of the hotel's management on a run-of-house basis. Triple rooms consist of standard twin beds plus a sofa/folding bed or cot for third person.

Not Included: Items of personal nature such as laundry, wines, mineral water, beverages, coffee, tea, meals other than described in the tour details, any other service not described as included, passport and visa fees, insurance.

Emergency Numbers:
1-703-349-1554 (USA) or 011-972-52-406-0582 (ISRAEL)

Documents: Your tour documents including: paper air tickets or E Ticket receipts, tour confirmation voucher and all other related information will be sent approximately two to three weeks prior to departure provided full payments have been received.

Customer Service: All customer service issues and refund requests must be submitted in writing and received no later than 30 days after your return. Refunds are subject to a processing fee of $50 plus any hotel and/or supplier charges incurred. Airline flight cancellations and delays for any reason are not the responsibility of MEJDI LLC Submit your claim directly to the airline. MEJDI LLC does not guarantee airline response.

MEDJI LLC, Arlington, Virginia, and it's employees, act only as representatives of agents of the various air carriers, hotels, public transportation companies and tour operators upon the expressed condition that they shall not be liable for any injury, damage, loss, accident, delay, or irregularities which may be occasioned either by reason of defect in any vehicle, or through acts of default of an company or persons engaged in conveying the passenger, operating contracted tour arrangements or otherwise of any hotel proprietor or servant. MEJDI LLC accepts no responsibility for loss, damage, monies, additional expenses due to common carrier cancellations, delays or changes, weather, sickness, injuries, strikes, war, quarantine, or other causes beyond their immediate and direct control.

In addition, MEJDI LLC relinquishes all responsibility for travel by any tour participants if that travel is prior to, during or beyond MEJDI LLC published tour dates. Enrollment in and payment for the tour, constitutes your acceptance of the Terms and Conditions and Statement of Responsibility. The terms and conditions and statement of responsibility become a binding contract when your enrollment and payment are received and accepted by MEJDI LLC. This contract shall be governed by the laws of the state of Virginia.

Flights to Cuba

  • You are allowed one bag not exceeding 50lbs for your charter flight to and from Cuba. Additional weight of the first bag or additional bags carry a fee. All charter flights from the US are extremely strict on their baggage policy.
  • A $20 fee per checked bag + overweight fees.
  • If your bag is overweight to there is a $2 per pound over 44 lbs.(including carry-on, which cannot weigh more than 20 lbs).  Travelers will have to double-check weight limits for their flights between CA and Miami. Between Miami and Cuba, the carry-on weight limit is 20lbs, and the total weight limit is 44lbs (includes checked bag and carry-on bag). If the carry-on and checked bags exceed 44lbs, there is an extra overweight charge per pound. Together, the carry-on and checked bag cannot exceed 70lbs.
  • Please make sure you have the address of your accommodation with you. You will need to fill out where you are staying on the custom’s form upon arrival to Cuba.

 

US Embassy – Cuba

  • Located at Calzada between L and M Streets
  • Vedado American Citizen Services Unit (ACSU)- Phone: +53-7-839-4100 Fax: +53-7-839-4247
  • For emergencies involving American Citizens when the ACSU is closed or after hours, please call the main switchboard at +53-7-839-4100 and dial 1 to speak with the emergency operator.

 

Medical Insurance and Health Issues

  • With your visa, you will have also purchased a mandatory health insurance that Cuba requires of all visitors. For those flying to Havana from outside of the US, you will be required to purchase this insurance once you land in Cuba. Cuba’s health care system is one of the best in the world. In case of illness or injury in Cuba, your required medical insurance will cover most of your costs. Please note that the hospital for foreigners in Havana is the Cira Garcia Hospital in the Miramar district of the city.

 

Medicine

  • While the health care system is very good in Cuba, many of the medicines we are accustomed to are not available. Bring any type of medicine you think you may need ie ibuprofen, pepto bismal (strongly recommended), insect repellenet (also strongly recommended), cold medicine, Band-Aids, cortisone cream for bug bites, sunblock, etc.

 

How much money should I bring? What will I be able to purchase there?

  • Keep in mind that U.S. credit cards are still not easy to use in Cuba. Everything must be purchased in cash.
  • Though you may have heard that most credit cards are starting to lift their restrictions, many local businesses in Cuba are still not accepting credit cards just yet. We strongly advice for you to bring enough cash to last you the duration of your visit. Safety deposit boxes are available in the hotels.
  • You should bring money for meals at Paladares (private restaurants), drinks (very cheap in Cuba), and if you choose to partake in the parts of the trip where we visit music concerts (cover is usually no more than $10-25 for a late night live concert).
  • You’ll also need cash for some tips.
  • You can bring up to $5000 cash into Cuba without declaring it.
  • We can now bring Cuban rum and cigars back into the U.S. According to the Obama administration, licensed U.S. travelers to Cuba will be able to bring back $400 worth of goods and merchandise, of which no more than $100 can consist of both alcohol and tobacco products.

 

Understanding Cuban Currency

  • Cuba has a dual currency system and foreigners must use Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC). There is also a national Cuban peso economy. Cuban salaries are paid in Cuban pesos (moneda nacional) (1CUC=25 pesos nacional), and most people earn 250 to 500 Cuban pesos per month ($10-$20 per month).
  • US dollars (USD) can be converted at the airport, hotels, banks, and exchange offices. The Euro has a better conversion rate than the USD.
  • The exchange rate is approximately 1USD = 0.87CUC.
  • You can use moneda nacional to shop in farmers markets, eat pizzas and lunches at outdoor stands, and at a handful of bookstores, but as a foreigner you will pay for most things in CUC.

 

Water:

  • Either boil it or buy bottled water. Avoid ice as well.

 

Cell and Internet Service

  • Your U.S. cell phones will not work in Cuba, unless some of the newly signed agreements between US carriers and the Cuban cellular company went into effect. Please call your carrier to see if your phone will work there. Some European and Canadian carriers may work, but they are still spotty. There are some new free Wi-Fi spots in the city where you can go to check your iMessages, Whatsapp, IMO, Skype, email, etc.
  • You can rent a cell phone or purchase a phone card that will allow you to call the United States from phone booths that are widely available, or you can call from any hotel. Please note that international calls from Cuba are usually $1/minute and the connections are not very good. These rental phones do not have cellular data (email, web surfing, etc.) capacity.
  • There is also Internet service in your hotel lobbies and other government approved places (very few and far between). The Internet card is typically around $2-$4 for 30-60 minutes of Internet usage. PLEAS NOTE: Even with these cards, internet coverage is not up to our standards. Please be prepared for this. Up until a few years ago, there was NO public wifi anywhere in Cuba. They have only had cell phone there for about 6 years.
  • If you have an .edu or .net email account, please have it forwarded to your Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail, etc accounts. Many .edu and .net emails do not open in Cuba.

 

 

 

Electrical Current

  • Although the power supply in Cuba is mainly 110 volts, most of the modern hotels have dual voltage with all the sockets in the room being 220 volts.
  • If you’re traveling from elsewhere, please make sure to bring the right converters.
    • Here is a useful link: Electrical Outlets/Converters in Cuba
  • Because the hotels accomplish this many times with converters, it is recommended that you bring a converter just in case they have a shortage.

 

Hair Dryers

  • All of the hotels that you will be staying in (Hotel Capri in Havana, Hotel Juaga in Cienfuegos, and Embassy Suites Hotel in Miami) will have hairdryers available in the hotels. Again, they may run out of hairdryers so if this is a necessity, it’s suggested you pack a travel hairdryer.

 

Keeping Cool

  • Buses and hotels will have air conditioning. Restaurants, if you are eating inside, will also have air conditions, though there are some locations such as in one of the Paladars (privately owned restaurants) that have rooftop and patio areas, which are outside and not air-conditioned.

 

Clothes and Laundry Service

  • Laundromats do not exist in Cuba; we recommend bringing enough change of clothes or washable ones to last you for the duration of your trip.
  • Dress is very casual; there is no need to bring any formal wear.