Monday, September 19, 2011

Freedom for Alan Gross

Please whoever can assist to these important events please do so, the life of a good man is in the hands of a tyranny with no respect for human rights or human life’s

Roland J Behar
Chair Hispanic Jewish Iniciative
ADL Florida RegionBoard Member
Cell:       (305) 793-0950

Notice: This e-mail (including attachments is covered by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, 10 U.S.C. 2510-2521, is confidential and may be legally priveleged. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any retention, dissemination, distribution, or copy of this communication is strictly prohibited. Please reply to the sender that you have received the message in error and then delete it.
Thank you."

For Immediate Release:
September 19, 2011

In Washington DC:
Ron Halber
Executive Director
Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington
W: (301) 770-0881 c: (301) 602-5709

Rev. Clark Lobenstine,
Executive Director,
Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington
w: (202) 234-6300 c: (202) 487-8635

In New York:
Michael Miller
Executive Director
Jewish Community Relations Council of New York
w: (212)-983-4800 #130 

Rabbi Joseph Potasnik
Executive Vice President
New York Board of Rabbis
Executive Vice President
w: (212) 983-3521 c: (917) 903-9111

Malcolm Hoenlein
Executive Vice Chairman
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
(212) 318-6111

Greater Washington DC and New York City Interfaith Leaders to Gather in Prayer and Solidarity Calling For Alan Gross’ Immediate Freedom from Cuba on Humanitarian Grounds
Simultaneous Vigils to Take Place at Cuban Interests Section (DC) & Cuban UN Mission  (NYC) with Gross Family
Interfaith leaders will gather in prayer and solidarity in DC and New York on Friday, September 23, at 9:30 am and call for Alan Gross’ immediate freedom from Cuba on humanitarian grounds.  The simultaneous vigils will take place at the Cuban Interests Sections in DC and in New York at the Cuban UN Mission. Members of the Gross family will participate in both vigils. At both events, event organizers plan to present Cuban authorities with the results of a national online petition drive containing over 10,000 signatures supporting Alan’s immediate freedom. The DC event will be sponsored by the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington. The New York event will be sponsored by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York and the New York Board of Rabbis.
Revered Clark Lobenstine, Executive Director of the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington, said “This cause is important to the interfaith community and all people of conscience. Alan has been a humanitarian and development worker for over 25 years, working in over fifty nations, and devoting his life to fulfilling the Jewish value of tikkun olam, repairing the world, a value that all people of faith admire. He has testified that he never meant any harm to the Cuban government or their people. He is a loving husband, father and son, and should be released immediately to allow him to be with his family for the Jewish holiday season. It is time for the Cuban leadership to let him come home.” “The painful plight of Alan Gross requires the that the moral voice of the faith community be heard now,” added Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, Executive Director of the New York Board of Rabbis.
Since his incarceration began nearly two years ago, Alan’s eldest daughter has been diagnosed with breast cancer and undergone a double mastectomy; his 89-year old mother is suffering from inoperable cancer; and his wife Judy has undergone surgery for an undisclosed medical issue. Alan has lost approximately 100 pounds since his arrest and is suffering from several health ailments.
Alan Gross, a resident of the DC area, was arrested in Cuba in December 2009 while working with the small Jewish community there to improve their internet access and to create an intranet for them.  He has been incarcerated ever since. He languished in prison for over a year until he was finally charged by the Cuban government.  He was convicted by a Cuban court of "actions against the integrity of the State," and sentenced to 15 years in prison. He subsequently appealed his sentence to the Cuban Supreme Court, and the court reaffirmed the sentence, exhausting all of Alan’s legal options. His only remaining avenue is commutation of his sentence by Raul Castro, President of Cuba. 
Alan and his supporters have fervently rejected all accusations that he did anything, or intended to do anything, to harm the Cuban government.  Quite to the contrary, his work in Cuba was only to help improve the Cuban Jewish community's ability to use the internet. The President of the United States, senior Administration officials, Members of Congress, national leaders, and newspaper editorials have all called for his immediate release. 
For additional information about Alan Gross, or to sign the petition, please visit
# # #

Ronald Halber
Executive Director
About the Jewish Community Relations CouncilThe Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington (JCRC) is the public affairs and community relations arm of The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington representing over 100 Jewish organizations and synagogues throughout DC, Maryland, and Virginia.  The JCRC focuses on government relations, Israel advocacy, inter-group relations, and social justice.
6101 Montrose Road, Suite 205Rockville, MD 20852Tel. 301-770-0881Fax.
Virginia Office: c/o JCCNV, 8900 Little River Turnpike, Fairfax, VA 22031-3123
Tel. 703-893-4007 Fax 703-323-1993
DC Office: 1720 Eye Street, NW Suite 800, Washington, DC 20006
Tel. 202-552-5355 

Because e-mail can be altered electronically, the integrity of this communication cannot be guaranteed. This message may contain information which is privileged or confidential.  If you are not the named addressee of this message please destroy it without reading, using, copying or disclosing its contents to any other person.