Otto G. Richter Library’s Conservation Laboratory

With some of the richest and deepest research collections in South Florida, UM’s Otto G. Richter Library is home to many rare and irreplaceable items that are critical to advancing scholarship. Access to these collections is paramount to the research and learning process for students and scholars. Moreover, the preservation of these donations is imperative to securing the cultural heritage of South Florida and the Caribbean. The UM Libraries Conservation Laboratory allows highly trained professionals to treat fragile documents, books, maps, and photographs using a state-of-the-art facility. This is where science and art combine to ensure that special collections receive the highest level of care; making materials accessible to students and scholars. Investing in preservation affirms the UM Libraries’ commitment to the long-term care of the special collections, material donations, and exhibitions. The Conservation Laboratory presents an extraordinary naming opportunity for those looking to continue advancing future scholars through the conservation of the past. View the video to learn more about the Conservation Laboratory.

To look at some of the images from the Inaugural Conservation Lab event, March 31, 2012, please click here

University of Miami Libraries Conservation Lab from UM Libraries on Vimeo.

Doctoral students can be immersed in Cuban originals thanks to the Goizueta Foundation

The CHC Graduate Fellowships provide assistance to doctoral students who wish to use the research resources available at the Cuban Heritage Collection at the University of Miami. The goal of the Graduate Fellowships is to engage emerging scholars with the materials available in the Cuban Heritage Collection and thus contribute to the larger body of scholarship in Cuban, hemispheric, and international studies. The 2012 CHC Graduate Fellowships are generously funded by The Goizueta Foundation and the Amigos of the Cuban Heritage Collection. View the video to learn more about the CHC and the CHC Fellows.

Celebrating the Jewish-Cuban experience

By Amanda Moreno, CHC Projects Assistant and Fernando Espino, CHC Student Assistant

Books pertaining to the Jewish-Cuban experience available at the CHC.

The Jewish community in Cuba traces its history back centuries, stretching as far as the first voyage of Christopher Columbus. Popular legend states that three Jewish sailors were among Columbus’s crew, including Rodrigo de Triana, the first man to spot land on the North American continent. [1] During the colonial period, many Spaniards of Jewish descent immigrated to the island. In the late 19th century and through the 20th century, a number of Jews from Eastern Europe and the Middle East migrated to Cuba and established a permanent presence. In 1906, a group of Cuban Jews founded the island’s first synagogue, the United Hebrew Congregation.

We recently processed the Frederick Solomon Papers, which features the correspondence and writings of Dr. Frederick Solomon, an exiled Jewish rabbi active in Havana during the mid-20th century. Dr. Solomon headed the United Hebrew Congregation at Temple Beth Israel, the island’s first synagogue, located in Havana’s Vedado suburb and home to the Centro Macabeo de Cuba. [2] During his time at Temple Beth Israel, Dr. Solomon continued the tradition of conducting services in English, organizing religious services and authoring sermons for his congregation from 1953 to 1960.

A figure of Miami’s Jewish-Cuban exile community is Bernardo Benes. A lawyer, banker and civic activist, Benes played an integral role in the release of thousands of Cuban political prisoners in the infamous 1978 diálogo (dialogue) with Fidel Castro. [3] In 1991, we acquired the Bernardo Benes Papers, with materials added in 2008. This collection documents Dr. Benes’ personal and professional activities with organizations such as the Cuban Hebrew Circle of Miami and the Greater Miami Jewish Federation.

For more information including a list of books pertaining to the Jewish-Cuban experience available at the CHC and more images please visit the CHC blog and view the full article post.

And in honor of the High Holy Days: L’Shanah Tovah, and have an easy fast!

Voices of the Diaspora: Israel Bichachi

By Fernando Espino, CHC Student Assistant
– for full post visit the CHC blog

Israel Bichachi, Jewish-Cuban entrepreneur and community leader.Today we highlight a Jewish-Cuban voice that forms part of the Luis J. Botifoll Oral History Project.

Israel Bichachi was born in Placetas, Las Villas on February 17, 1929, into a family of Sephardic Jews from Turkey. Bichachi was brought up speaking Spanish and raised as a Cuban first and foremost. “[In Cuba] you saw a bit of discrimination amongst the young people,” Bichachi explains. “But very little from adults.” While his family was not particularly religious, he remembers the difficulty they faced in finding places of worship, since Cuba had very few synagogues.

When the 1948 Arab-Israeli War broke out, Jews from across the world flocked to defend the young Israeli state. That same year, a young Israel Bichachi eagerly left his home to volunteer in Israel for a few months. “There were Jews from all over the world,” he remembers, speaking of the many volunteer corps he met in Israel. “If you spoke less than five languages, it was considered strange. I would tell people that I only spoke Spanish. Everyone was stunned.”

Bichachi’s return to Cuba was followed by the revolution, and he quickly found himself a target of the new regime. After three stints in a Cuban prison, he and his family knew they would have to go into exile. He spent a year in Israel working in a concrete factory, followed by a few years in New York before finally relocating to Miami. He worked primarily in the garment industry, first as a factory worker, and later as a salesman.

Bichachi would eventually open his own clothing shop, Bichachi Originals in Miami Shores in 1966. He also became a leader in the Jewish-Cuban community in Miami. In 1968, he co-founded Temple Moses, a Sephardic synagogue in Miami Beach, Florida.

Today, less than 2,000 Jews remain in Cuba. Like Bichachi and his family, the majority of this once-thriving community was forced into exile by the Castro regime. His story paints a portrait of the life of a Cuban Jew who, like so many of his countrymen, was forced to make a new life in a new home.

Israel Bichachi was interviewed as part of the Luis J. Botifoll Oral History Project in Miami Beach, FL on October 12, 2011. To learn more, watch Mr. Bichachi tell his life story.

More from the Luis J. Botifoll Oral History Project »

Music Research Guide

Got a music research paper coming up and you don’t know where to start? Take a look at the Music Research Guide. The research guide list important and popular resources for music research, organized by type of resource.There are also links to guides for specific courses as well as for specific types of research, from jazz to music therapy and more.


If you’re teaching a course and you would like a customized guide for your course, please contact us at