Shavei Israel | Amazon Jewry

Amazon Jewry

The emerging Jewish community of Tarapoto, located in the heart of the Peruvian jungle region, now has its first rabbi thanks to the Shavei Israel organization. Comprising several hundred people, the Tarapoto community consists of descendants of Moroccan Jews who migrated to the area in the late 19th century. Settling in towns in Peru's Amazon basin such as Iquitos in the 1880s, many became involved in local trade and commerce. From there they spread out to other parts of the country's northern interior, such as Tarapoto.   "Assimilation and intermarriage took a heavy toll on the Moroccan Jews who chose to remain in the area," noted Shavei Israel Chairman Michael Freund. "Now, however, their children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren have begun to return to their Jewish roots."