Stories from Jewish Barbados, the Pearl of the Caribbean

Sunday, May 28

USA 12:00 pm PT / 3:00 pm ET

UK 8:00 pm / France 09:00 pm / Israel 10:00 pm

The talk will last approximately 90 minutes

About this talk

Join writer, historian, and community member Neal Rechtman for a fascinating tour of Jewish Barbados. We will visit the restored Nidhe Israel synagogue (1654), its adjacent cemeteries, and the recently discovered Mikveh.

Learn how a group of Sephardic Jews, fleeing the Portuguese Inquisition in Brazil, made their way to Barbados and secured the protection of Oliver Cromwell, the English Protestant leader. This early Sephardic community later grew with new arrivals from England and was key in developing the British sugar industry. After its decline and mass emigration of Jews from the island, a subsequent wave of Ashkenazi refugees formed the core of today's tiny 50-person community, giving Neal the distinction of being 2% of the entire Jewish population of Barbados.

About Neal

Neal Rechtman is an American writer and historian who has lived in Barbados for six years. He is the author of two novels, numerous essays, and short stories. He holds a degree in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University and is a volunteer docent at the historic Nidhe Israel synagogue in Bridgetown. Neal is an active member of the Barbados Jewish Community, and he is also an avid bridge player who competes internationally as a member of the Barbados National Bridge team.

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