Jamaican Jews Hope To Attract Jewish Tourism, But Island’s Social Woes Are Discouraging

Repeating Islands

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According to the Jamaica Tourist Board, Next to Christianity, the oldest religions practiced in Jamaica is Judaism, the Jewish Business News reports.

The arrival of Jews on the island dates as far back as 1530. As many as eight synagogues were erected in Kingston, Port Royal, Spanish Town and Montego Bay between the 1600s and 1800s—all destroyed by hurricanes, fire, or earthquakes, and those that survived were eventually abandoned.

In 1800 Jamaica boasted nearly 2,500 Jews but today the number of Jews in Jamaica is about 200, according to an AP report, most of them older than 50, with a single Reform synagogue, Sha’are Shalom, located at 92 Duke Street.

A number of Israeli families have relocated to Jamaica for work, but do not plan to stay. They have not cultivated good relations with the local Jews.

Shaare Shalom Synagogue is one of five functioning synagogues with sand floors…

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