Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Welcome Back, Alan

Binyamin Rose

Three weeks ago, Mishpacha’s cover story was headlined with the question: “Why Is Alan Gross Still in Jail?” After a dramatic Chanukah prisoner swap that sprung Gross to freedom, the new burning question is: Will Gross’s release and a promise of improved US-Cuba relations, result in more freedoms for the Cuban people?

Monday, December 22, 2014

That last nervous moment for travelers leaving Cuba comes after the tax agent affixes a hologram sticker to your boarding pass as proof that you paid the mandatory $25 departure tax at José Martí International Airport. You think you’re on your way home, but one hurdle remains: You must show this sticker to a Cuban soldier who stands guard on the tarmac. Only with his stamp of approval can you board your flight.AlanGrosswas exempted from this fee. He more than paid his dues, serving five years and two weeks of a 15-year sentence in a Cuban prison on charges of subverting the Cuban government. Gross was working for a US State Department subcontractor to bring Internet and other mobile communications systems to the isolated Communist nation when he was arrested in 2009.He returned to the US last Tuesday in an aircraft emblazoned with the symbol of the United States of America. His wideJudithand a handful of members of Congress flew to Cuba to pick him up and take him back to friendly territory.On the flight back, Gross dined on a cold-cut sandwich and potato latkes that his wife brought along. He will probably enjoy his food more once he gets some dental work done. The gap from the teeth he’d lost in prison was evident when he read a short statement to the media late Tuesday in the office of hisWashingtonattorney,ScottGilbert.“Chag samei’ach. What a blessing to be a citizen of the United States of America. Thank you,PresidentObama, for everything you have done today,” said Gross, who declined to take questions. He asked the press to “respect my wishes for complete and total privacy.”JudithGrossis aware of the outpouring of prayers by our readership for her husband’s safe return, spurred by our cover story three weeks ago. In a brief e-mail, she wrote: “Thank you for your thoughts. I thought the article was wonderful.Judy.” 

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

What’s in a Name?
Shoshana Friedman “What does Writer X have to say this week?”
Atonement — Fake and Real
Yonoson Rosenblum White confessionals and faux rituals
Four Walls Coming Full Circle
Eytan Kobre All the while, there’s been a relationship in the offing...
And Yet We Smile
Yisroel Besser We are the nation that toils to be happy at all costs
Out of This World
Rabbi Henoch Plotnick Dirshu Hashem b’himatzo — we are in Hashem’s company now...
Steven and Jonathan Litton
Rachel Bachrach The co-owners of Litton Sukkah, based in Lawrence, NY
Tali Messing
Moe Mernick Tali Messing, engineering manager at Facebook Tel Aviv
Sick Note
Jacob L. Freedman “Of course, Dr. Freedman. Machul, machul, machul”
Avoiding Health Columns Can Be Good for You
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Only one reliable guide for good health: our Torah
Endnote: Side Notes
Riki Goldstein Most Jewish music industry entertainers have side profes...
Me, Myself, and Why
Faigy Peritzman Where there’s no heart and no love, there’s no point
Can’t Do It Without You
Sarah Chana Radcliffe When you step up to the plate, you build your home team
Eternal Joy
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz The joy of Succos is the fruit of spiritual victory
The Appraiser: Part III
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer Make sure your child knows his strengths
Hidden Special Needs
Rena Shechter You won’t see his special needs, but don’t deny them
Dear Wealthy Friend
Anonymous There’s no need for guilt. I am truly happy for you