Friday, December 2, 2016

Remnants of Jamaica’s Jews hold a heritage full of firsts

Jamaican converts in Kingston's Shaare Shalom Synagogue (photo credit: Courtesy)
JAMAICA---“Is this the way to the Jewish church?” a Jamaican driver yells out of the window of his car. “Yes, just keep going straight,” someone replies. Soon enough we see the “Jewish church” itself, a white building beautifully outlined against the blue sky. All the doors are wide open — or maybe there are no doors. Here it’s important to let the breeze in. Inside, white and black people, men and women, pray and sing together. This is Shaare Shalom, a synagogue serving a congregation that traces its Jewish roots back to the first Europeans in the Americas, who came with Columbus in 1492 — the same year that Spain expelled its Jews. It was on Columbus’s second voyage in 1494 that he landed in Jamaica. [link]