Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Vigils for Gross planned outside Cuban offices in D.C., N.Y.

Vigils for Gross planned outside Cuban offices in D.C., N.Y.
September 20, 2011

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Jewish and interfaith groups are organizing
simultaneous vigils in Washington and New York calling for the release
of Jewish American contractor Alan Gross from a Cuban prison.

The vigils, coordinated by the Jewish Community Relations Council of
Greater Washington and the Conference of Presidents of Major American
Jewish Organizations, will take place Friday at the Cuba Interests
section in Washington and the Cuba mission to the United Nations in New

At both vigils, organizers will attempt to present Cuban officials with
petitions calling for Gross' release before Rosh Hashanah. The
Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington is co-sponsoring the
vigil there.

Gross, 62, a subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International
Development, has been imprisoned since 2009 and was sentenced this
summer to 15 years in prison for attempting to overthrow Cuba's
government. He was hooking up the island's small Jewish community with
access to the Internet.

Gross is ailing in prison and reportedly has lost 100 pounds. His mother
and one of his daughters are suffering from cancer, and his wife is
recovering from an undisclosed illness.

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