Shavei Israel | Spotlight on Other Communities: Suriname

Spotlight on Other Communities: Suriname

Spotlight on Other Communities: Suriname

Synagogue in Suriname

Synagogue in Suriname

Over the past weeks, we’ve introduced you to some of the far-flung Jewish communities we profile on the Shavei Israel website but with whom we are not actively involved.  This week we turn your attention to the Caribbean and the small community in the country of Suriname. On the northeastern coast of South America, bordered by the two Guyana’s and Brazil, Jews first arrived in Suriname in 1629 from Holland and Brazil. A synagogue was built in 1652.

The Jewish contributions to Suriname appear throughout the country’s history. The original capital of Torarica takes its name from the Portuguese for “rich or splendid Torah.” The area where many Jews settled is known in Suriname as “Jodensavanne” (the Jewish savanna or “Jerusalem on the River”). By the early 1700s, Jews owned 115 of the 400 sugar and tobacco plantations in the country. Today, the country is perhaps best known for the recreation of a classic Suriname synagogue – sandy floor and all – in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

Click here to read more about Suriname’s rich Jewish history.

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