B'nei Anusim Center for Education

Bringing Together and Educating Descendants of Sephardic Conversos

The Spanish-Portuguese Synagogue in Curaçao

A few weeks ago I posted about my visit to the Touro Synagogue, the oldest synagogue building in the United States. This Spanish and Portuguese Jewish community was founded during the colonial period and along with three other communities formed the nexus of the Jewish community in a young country.

The Spanish and Portuguese Jews who settled in the United States were also joined by communities in the Caribbean. One of the most famous and beautiful of these communities is Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue in Curaçao.

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By Dolly442 (Own Work) [CC by SA 3.0]

The community was established in 1651. The Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue  was completed in 1732, and has been in use ever since. The synagogue is unique in having a sand floor. This feature  was potentially incorporated as a reflection of lack of sound created by walking on the floor. This was reflective of the need by former Conversos to maintain secrecy in their observance of Judaism.

For an article describing this beautiful synagogue visit:

Curaçao’s Sand-Floored Synagogue


Posted  Rabbi Juan Bejarano-Gutierrez the director of the B’nei Anusim Center for Education and author of What is Kosher?

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