Tagged Alan Gross

Alan Gross, after spending 5 years in a Cuban prison, is starting over in Israel

Alan Gross with some of his favorite things -- a pastrami sandwich and a Cuban cigar -- at Loeb's Deli in Washington, D.C., July 12, 2017. (Ron Kampeas)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Alan Gross contacted me a couple of months ago over Facebook Messenger. There was something he thought I should know. I was pleasantly surprised. I’d only exchanged pleasantries with Gross in the several times I’d seen him since his release from a Cuban prison in December… Read more »

Alan Gross opens up about surviving Cuban prison, selfies

Alan Gross opens up about surviving Cuban prison, selfies Alan Gross displaying his Cuban cigars at his apartment in Washington, D.C., Dec. 23, 2015. (Suzanne Pollak/Washington Jewish Week)

(Washington Jewish Week via JTA) – Since being imprisoned in Cuba six years ago, Alan Gross says his life has been “surreal.” He feels disassociated from the causes of his five-year incarceration and from the resulting fame. He was locked up largely because of U.S.-Cuba relations, he says, and… Read more »

For Cuban Jews in U.S., rapprochement with Castro regime cause for concern

People stand outside the Little Havana restaurant in Versailles, as they absorb the news that Alan Gross was released from a Cuban prison and that U.S. President Barack Obama wants to change the U.S. cuban policy, Dec. 17, 2014 in Miami. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(JTA) – For many Cuban Jews – the majority of whom now live in the United States – it has been a bittersweet week. Like countless Jews around the world, they cheered the release of Alan Gross, the American Jewish telecommunications contractor who had been held in a Cuban… Read more »

At White House Chanukah party, Obama emphasizes freedom and food

President Obama speaking at the first of two White House Chanukah parties in Washington, D.C., dec. 17, 2014. (Steve Sheffey)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — I’ve been JTA’s Washington bureau chief for 11 years, but this was the first time I scored a coveted invitation to the annual White House Chanukah  party. A Washington tradition started by President George W. Bush, the party has actually expanded (to meet demand) to two:… Read more »

Gross’ release, and changes in diplomatic ties, signals new day for Cuban Jews

Alan Gross, freed from a Cuban prison earlier in the day, waves after concluding his remarks with his wife, Judy, at a news conference in Washington shortly after arriving in the United States, Dec. 17, 2014. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Alan Gross was imprisoned while trying to connect Cuba’s isolated Jewish community to the wider world. The deal that got him released five years later may do just that and much more. Gross’ flight home to suburban Washington on Wednesday with his wife, Judy, was part… Read more »

After his hunger strike, Alan Gross’ backers ramp up calls for U.S. action

Supporters of Alan Gross, who has been imprisoned in Cuba since 2009, rally outside the White House on Dec. 3, 2013. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Alan Gross did not warn his family he was launching a hunger strike, but hearing the news, they understood why: The U.S. government subcontractor languishing in a Cuban prison feels forgotten. Gross,  a 64-year-old Jewish father of two from Potomac, Md., is currently serving a 15-year sentence… Read more »

Gross advocates press for consideration of some Cuban Five demands

Rabbi Arthur Schneier, left, meets with U.S. subcontractor Alan Gross in the Havana prison facility where Gross is being held, March 6, 2012. (Courtesy Appeal of Conscience Foundation)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Advocates for Alan Gross say talk of a trade with the “Cuban Five” is a non-starter, but acknowledge hopes that the Obama administration will consider lower-level concessions for the five Cuban spies in exchange for Cuban considerations for the jailed American. Insiders say that Gross’ advocates… Read more »

Alan Gross revelations could hamper campaign for his release

Alan and Judy Gross at the Western Wall in the spring of 2005. (Courtesy of the Gross family)

WASHINGTON (JTA) – For the Jews of Cuba, it was the ultimate Internet connection. The high-tech equipment that U.S. contractor Alan Gross brought with him to Cuba in 2009 to help connect local Jews to the Internet reportedly included a SIM card that makes it almost impossible to track… Read more »

Petition to help Alan Gross

I am hoping you have heard about the plight of my friend Alan Gross. Alan is from the Washington, D.C. area and his situation has received a lot of coverage in the news. Alan went to Cuba to bring laptop computers and cell phones to the Jewish community on… Read more »

Plea of Alan Gross’ wife to GA

Alan and Judy Gross at the Western Wall in the spring of 2005. (Courtesy of the Gross family)

DENVER (JTA) — Alan Gross is a Jewish-American contractor who is serving a 15-year prison sentence in Cuba for “crimes against the state.” Gross, now 62 and in ill health, was arrested in 2009 as he was leaving Cuba. His family and U.S. State Department officials say that Gross… Read more »