The Jewish community has a new rabbi who has literally traveled the globe to get here.
Just a few years ago, Rabbi Berel Pewzner and his wife Rikal were in Reykjavik, Iceland, to help develop the small Jewish community there, and the rabbi conducted the first kosher Passover seder ever held in Iceland, with more than 70 Jews participating.
Here in Cayman, the rabbi will again conduct Passover seder, at the Marriott resort on Seven Mile Beach, for the holiday that begins at sundown Monday, April 14.
Just as in Iceland, the seder will inlcude a kosher meal, four cups of wine, matzoh (unleavened bread), the story of Exodus, and traditional prayers and songs.
Perhaps the only difference in Iceland was that the meal featured fresh Icelandic salmon, according to the rabbi’s description.
Plans for Cayman
The couple plan to develop the Jewish community on island, estimated to be about 100 people, and establish a local branch of Chabad-Lubavitch, one of the largest Jewish organizations in the world with more than 2,400 international branches.
“Cayman is a very friendly island, very welcoming, and we are so glad to be living here,” said Rabbi Pewzner.
The rabbi and his wife, originally from the United States, moved here last month. Together they will host a range of activities including Hebrew School, weekly synagogue services, and study groups.
Rabbi Pewzner will host Jewish holiday celebrations and social events, with the aim of making everyone feel welcome. Also, he said, “We’ll be speaking with schools, and connecting with the general population.”
“What sets the Caymanian Jewish community apart is that its members have shown much determination to build a community from scratch.
“What started out as informal Shabbat dinners and High Holiday services two decades ago has blossomed into a vibrant model of a modern Jewish community,” he added.
Mrs. Pewzner added, “We are looking forward to taking things to the next level by creating a dedicated space where Jews can engage with Judaism on their own terms.
“We are looking forward to sharing the Jewish experience with the broader Caymanian community and sharing the beautiful traditions of Judaism with all,” she said.
Rabbi Moshe Katz from New York, who previously served as Cayman’s rabbi, left Grand Cayman in November 2013.
The festival of Passover, which this year is April 14 to 22, commemorates the freedom of the Jewish people from enslavement in ancient Egypt.
“Passover, the season of our liberation, comes around every year not merely to remind us of the liberation of our ancestors from Egyptian bondage, but also to inspire us to strive for a greater measure of self-liberation from all limitations and distractions which may impede our spiritual growth,” the rabbi said.
To register online for the local seder, go to www.jewishcayman.com/seder2014.