The Only Kosher Butcher Shop in Cuba.
By Zachary Solomon (Jewniverse)
For the kashrut-observant Cuban, thereas only one place to go for a piece of meat. Situated on Acosta Street in Old Havana is Cubaas sole kosher butcher shop. For nearly 70 years, the privately run business has provided kosher beef to the countryas Jews, and only to the Jewsanon-Jewish Cubans receive rations for pork, available in vastly limited supply elsewhere.
The fact that thereas even one kosher butchery is improbable at best. After Castroas 1959 Revolution, a precursor to the countryas stringent communism, virtually all private businesses were nationalizedabut not that of Abraham Berezniak, the local kosher meat man. Perhaps to avoid claims of anti-Semitism, the government allowed the butchery to remain open, and now goes as far as to make sure itas stocked even when other butcheries are running out.
Itas not easy eating meat in Cuba. Cows are the property of the state, and Cubans claim itas a far worse crime to be caught slaughtering a cow than a person.
So who runs this place? Adath Israel, Cubaas only Orthodox shul, sees to its upkeep. Really, though, itas just one guy. Yakob Berezniak Hernandez is not just the cantor, or the entirety of the burial committee, or the treasurer: heas also the countryas only shohet. Thatas a lot of work for a nice brisket.