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Synagogue "Snoa" of the Mikva Israel Congregation, Curacao
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Synagogue "Snoa" of the Mikva Israel Congregation, Curacao

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Synagogue "Snoa" of the Mikve Israel congregation in Curacao , consegrated in 1732, the oldest in the western
hemisphere in continuos use.
Inspired by the Portuguese synagogue in Amsterdam in 1964 the orthodox Mikve Israel and the reform Emanu-El communities re-united into one congregation, known as Mikve-Israel-Emanuel model.
(Beit Hatfutsot, permanent exhibition)
ID Number:
150220
Image Purchase: For more details about image purchasing Click here, make sure you have the photo ID number (as appear above)
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Curaçao

An island nation in the southern Caribbean Sea, a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The "Mother of the Caribbean Jewish Communities".

21st Century

Estimated Jewish population in 2018: less than 300 out of 160,000. Main Jewish organization:

Sinagoga Mikvé-Israel – Emmanuel (Jewish Community of Curaçao)
Phone:  599-9-4611067
Email: directiva@snoa.com

 

HISTORY

Curacao is located approximately 40 miles (65km) north of Venezuela. The island is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and was part of the Netherlands Antilles before its dissolution in 2010.

The Mikve Israel-Emanuel Synagogue is the oldest surviving synagogue in the Americas and is generally referred to as the Snoa. Most of the island's Jews are members of the congregation, while a minority are members of Shaarei Tsedek. Next to the synagogue is the Jewish Historical Cultural Museum. Mikve Israel offers regular services on Shabbat and holidays.

Shaarei Tsedek offers weekly Orthodox services on Friday night, Shabbat morning, and Shabbat afternoon. The congregation has met in a striking new building with a transparent domed roof since 2006.

The Curacao community Hebrew School meets four times a week.

The Beit Chaim Bleinheim cemetery is the oldest Jewish cemetery in the Western Hemisphere. Among those buried in the cemetery is Ribca Spinoza (Baruch Spinoza's half-sister, who died in 1695). It is open for visitors by appointment only. The Mikve Israel cemetery is located in Berg Altena.

Curacao has no kosher restaurants, but a variety of products in local supermarkets are certified kosher.

Approximately 300 Jews were living in Curacao in the year 2000.

HISTORY

The first Jewish person to come to Curacao was probably Samuel Cohen, who served as an interpreter to the Dutch Army when it fought the Spanish in 1634. After Curacao was conquered by the Dutch, the Dutch West India Company sought to attract Jews (and others) to the island in order to further their economic interests. The first organized group of Jews to settle in Curacao was led by Joao de Yllan in 1651. They were followed in 1652 by a group led by David Nassi. A third group from Brazil was led by Isaac da Costa, who was granted freedom of religion, the right to protection, and permission to build a synagogue. By the time da Costa arrived on the island, the Jews had also been granted an area referred to as the "Jewish Quarter."

The community Mikveh Israel was founded in 1659, the same year that the Jewish cemetery was consecrated. The community's first synagogue was dedicated in 1674, and a second synagogue was built in 1681 a second synagogue was built. A third synagogue was established in 1732 and has remained standing into the 21st century. The yeshiva Etz Chaim V'Ohel Ya'akov was established in 1674.

Josiau Pardo, who was originally from Salonika, was appointed as the congregation's first chakham in 1674. Jacob Lopez de Fonseca served as the chakham between 1764 and 1815; he was born in Curacao and sent to Amsterdam for his rabbinical education.

Curacao became the center of Jewish life in the Caribbean. Its Jewish community helped support other Jewish communities in the area, particularly those in countries under Spanish colonial rule. Jews who died in places with no Jewish cemetery were buried in Curacao. Mohels from Curacao circumcised people from the Americas and Europe who wanted to return to their Jewish roots.

The Jewish community grew, helped by immigrants from Amsterdam, Bayonne, Pomeroon, and Martinique, as well as Conversos from Spain and Portugal. By 1729 there were more than 2,000 Jews living on the island (about half of the total white population). Due to overcrowding on the small island, a number of Jews immigrated; in 1693 approximately 70 Jews from Curacao left for Newport, Rhode Island where they joined Jews from Barbados in establishing a community.

In spite of the community's growth and success, there were significant arguments that took place within the community. These disagreements could get so heated that they sometimes led to excommunications, and official interventions by the government. Forty years after the death of de Fonseca, the congregation appointed Aron Mendes Chumaceiro (1810-1882) as chakham. He served until 1869, during which time the congregation was divided by personal rivalries. Despite his excellent work, Chumaceiro was often subjected to hostility and opposition by some of the congregation's leading members. This animosity led a second group to secede from Mikveh Israel (another group had already left the congregation). This breakaway group formed a Reform congregation, Emanu-El, in 1864 and established a synagogue in 1866. Under Chumaceiro the original congregation introduced a number of modifications to their ritual practice, including a mixed choir and organ music. Mikveh israel and Emanu-El would ultimately re-merge in 1963 and form The United Netherlands Portuguese Congregation Mikve Israel-Emmanuel; the united congregation adopted the Reconstructionist prayer book and joined the World Union for Progressive Judaism.

Beginning in 1926 a number of Ashkenazi Jews settled in Curacao, many of whom arrived from Romania. In 1932 they founded the organization Union Center. Later, in 1969, this community opened the Shaarei Tzedek Synagogue.

After the riots of May 30, 1969 a number of Jews left Curacao. Later, the economic crisis during the mid-1980s led to a further wave of emigration from Curacao.

Approximately 750 Jews lived in Curacao in 1970.

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Would you like to help us improving the content? Send us your suggestions
Synagogue "Snoa" of the Mikva Israel Congregation, Curacao
Synagogue "Snoa" of the Mikve Israel congregation in Curacao , consegrated in 1732, the oldest in the western
hemisphere in continuos use.
Inspired by the Portuguese synagogue in Amsterdam in 1964 the orthodox Mikve Israel and the reform Emanu-El communities re-united into one congregation, known as Mikve-Israel-Emanuel model.
(Beit Hatfutsot, permanent exhibition)
Image Purchase: For more details about image purchasing Click here, make sure you have the photo ID number (as appear above)

Curacao

Curaçao

An island nation in the southern Caribbean Sea, a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The "Mother of the Caribbean Jewish Communities".

21st Century

Estimated Jewish population in 2018: less than 300 out of 160,000. Main Jewish organization:

Sinagoga Mikvé-Israel – Emmanuel (Jewish Community of Curaçao)
Phone:  599-9-4611067
Email: directiva@snoa.com

 

HISTORY

Curacao is located approximately 40 miles (65km) north of Venezuela. The island is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and was part of the Netherlands Antilles before its dissolution in 2010.

The Mikve Israel-Emanuel Synagogue is the oldest surviving synagogue in the Americas and is generally referred to as the Snoa. Most of the island's Jews are members of the congregation, while a minority are members of Shaarei Tsedek. Next to the synagogue is the Jewish Historical Cultural Museum. Mikve Israel offers regular services on Shabbat and holidays.

Shaarei Tsedek offers weekly Orthodox services on Friday night, Shabbat morning, and Shabbat afternoon. The congregation has met in a striking new building with a transparent domed roof since 2006.

The Curacao community Hebrew School meets four times a week.

The Beit Chaim Bleinheim cemetery is the oldest Jewish cemetery in the Western Hemisphere. Among those buried in the cemetery is Ribca Spinoza (Baruch Spinoza's half-sister, who died in 1695). It is open for visitors by appointment only. The Mikve Israel cemetery is located in Berg Altena.

Curacao has no kosher restaurants, but a variety of products in local supermarkets are certified kosher.

Approximately 300 Jews were living in Curacao in the year 2000.

HISTORY

The first Jewish person to come to Curacao was probably Samuel Cohen, who served as an interpreter to the Dutch Army when it fought the Spanish in 1634. After Curacao was conquered by the Dutch, the Dutch West India Company sought to attract Jews (and others) to the island in order to further their economic interests. The first organized group of Jews to settle in Curacao was led by Joao de Yllan in 1651. They were followed in 1652 by a group led by David Nassi. A third group from Brazil was led by Isaac da Costa, who was granted freedom of religion, the right to protection, and permission to build a synagogue. By the time da Costa arrived on the island, the Jews had also been granted an area referred to as the "Jewish Quarter."

The community Mikveh Israel was founded in 1659, the same year that the Jewish cemetery was consecrated. The community's first synagogue was dedicated in 1674, and a second synagogue was built in 1681 a second synagogue was built. A third synagogue was established in 1732 and has remained standing into the 21st century. The yeshiva Etz Chaim V'Ohel Ya'akov was established in 1674.

Josiau Pardo, who was originally from Salonika, was appointed as the congregation's first chakham in 1674. Jacob Lopez de Fonseca served as the chakham between 1764 and 1815; he was born in Curacao and sent to Amsterdam for his rabbinical education.

Curacao became the center of Jewish life in the Caribbean. Its Jewish community helped support other Jewish communities in the area, particularly those in countries under Spanish colonial rule. Jews who died in places with no Jewish cemetery were buried in Curacao. Mohels from Curacao circumcised people from the Americas and Europe who wanted to return to their Jewish roots.

The Jewish community grew, helped by immigrants from Amsterdam, Bayonne, Pomeroon, and Martinique, as well as Conversos from Spain and Portugal. By 1729 there were more than 2,000 Jews living on the island (about half of the total white population). Due to overcrowding on the small island, a number of Jews immigrated; in 1693 approximately 70 Jews from Curacao left for Newport, Rhode Island where they joined Jews from Barbados in establishing a community.

In spite of the community's growth and success, there were significant arguments that took place within the community. These disagreements could get so heated that they sometimes led to excommunications, and official interventions by the government. Forty years after the death of de Fonseca, the congregation appointed Aron Mendes Chumaceiro (1810-1882) as chakham. He served until 1869, during which time the congregation was divided by personal rivalries. Despite his excellent work, Chumaceiro was often subjected to hostility and opposition by some of the congregation's leading members. This animosity led a second group to secede from Mikveh Israel (another group had already left the congregation). This breakaway group formed a Reform congregation, Emanu-El, in 1864 and established a synagogue in 1866. Under Chumaceiro the original congregation introduced a number of modifications to their ritual practice, including a mixed choir and organ music. Mikveh israel and Emanu-El would ultimately re-merge in 1963 and form The United Netherlands Portuguese Congregation Mikve Israel-Emmanuel; the united congregation adopted the Reconstructionist prayer book and joined the World Union for Progressive Judaism.

Beginning in 1926 a number of Ashkenazi Jews settled in Curacao, many of whom arrived from Romania. In 1932 they founded the organization Union Center. Later, in 1969, this community opened the Shaarei Tzedek Synagogue.

After the riots of May 30, 1969 a number of Jews left Curacao. Later, the economic crisis during the mid-1980s led to a further wave of emigration from Curacao.

Approximately 750 Jews lived in Curacao in 1970.