The Curacao Jewish Heritage.
Curacao home of
the oldest active Jewish community and the oldest synagoge in continuous use
in the Americas.
For close to three centuries the Sephardic Jews ( Jews of Spanish- Portugese origin) of Congregation Mikve Israel and Emanu-El were the only Jews on Curacao. For over 200 years, they were united in one congregation, Mikve Israel. Then in 1864, there was a rift and Sephardic Jewish Reform Congreation Emanu- El was founded, constructing their own building on the Wilhelminplein. In 1964, after exactly 100 years of separation, the two Sephardic congreations reunited.
Since the 1920’s there has been an influx of Ashkenazi ( Central and East European) Orthodox Jews on Curacao. In 1959 they consecrated a synagogue building. “ Shaarei Tzedek”
Some 450 people now belong to the two Curacao Jewish congreations: 75% of them are members of Mikve Israel and the remaining of Shaarei Tsedek.
Beit Haim ( “House of Life” , a traditional euphemism for cementry)
Blenheim “ was consecrated in 1659. The historic cementry, contains
hundreds of fascinating monuments with unique examples of Jewish sepulchral
art and interesting inscriptions in Portuguese Spanish, Hebrew and other languages.
Approximately one hundred ( of the 2500, 17th and 18th century) still visible
grave markers, are recognizable/readable today. The last burials held in this
cementry were in the 1950’s.
The newer “ modern” cementry is the “Beit Haim Berg Altena”
Our Jewish Heritage
tours are guided by professional guides who made studies about the history
of Curacao Jewry.
We offer tours for small and big groups and also privat tours.