Jewish settlement on the island of St. Thomas dates from 1655. The early settlers were from Brazil, Surinam, Barbados, Holland and France. The largest influx came in 1781 when the Jews living on the Dutch island of St. Eustatius fled after the island was attacked by the British for aiding American revolutionaries. By 1850, the Jewish population of 400 accounted for about half of the island's white population. After the opening of the Panama Canal, the Jewish population diminished, and by 1942, the Jewish population numbered about 50 persons. A congregation was founded in 1796. The synagogue depicted in the below postcard was built in 1833 and replaced a structure destroyed in 1804.
Below are thumbnails of two postcards depicting the exterior of the synagogue. Please click on the thumbnail to see the full image, and then click your back key or "Exterior" in the left frame to return.
Below are thumbnails of postcards depicting the interior of the synagogue. The synagogue was designed in the Spanish-Portuguese style, with the ark facing the pulpit. The first postcards shows the ark with six torah scrolls, each over 150 years old. The second postcard shows the pulpit. Please click on the thumbnail to see the full image, and then click your back key or "Interior" in the left frame to return.
Encyclopedia Judaica, CD-Rom Edition, Keter Publishing
Copyright © 2002 Edward Victor