Alan Gross: Castro's prisoner
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    Vigils for Gross planned outside Cuban offices in D.C., N.Y.

    Vigils for 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 from a Cuban .

    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 .

    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.