Cuban Jewish Leaders Visit Jailed American Gross

Alan Gross and visitors light candles, pray and eat Hanukkah foods, including latkes and chocolate coins.

The Associated Press
The Associated Press
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The Associated Press
The Associated Press

Cuban Jewish leaders say they have visited a U.S. government subcontractor imprisoned on the island.

A statement from Beth Shalom Temple says they met with Alan Gross, of Maryland, on Thursday. The visit came two days after Gross marked four years in custody, and on the last day of Hanukkah.

Gross and his visitors lit candles, prayed and had foods associated with the holiday including latkes and chocolate coins. They also discussed a letter he sent this week urging President Barack Obama to personally work for his release.

Friday's statement said Gross seemed to be of better spirit and physical condition.

Gross was detained Dec. 3, 2009 after bringing restricted communications equipment into the country. He was later sentenced to 15 years.

Jailed American Alan Gross poses for a photo during a visit by Rabbi Elie Abadie and U.S. lawyer James L. Berenthal at Finlay military hospital in Havana, Cuba, Nov. 27, 2012.Credit: AP / James L. Berenthal