The Mikve Israel Emanuel Jewish Synagogue – A TOURIST IN THE CARIBBEAN

The Mikve Israel Emanuel Jewish Synagogue

The synagogue is the oldest continually used synagogue in the Western Hemisphere and a major tourist attraction on the island.  Founded in 1651, the synagogue is located in Punda, Willemstad. One notable feature about this synagogue is that the floor is entirely covered in sand. The significance of the floor covered in sand is in remembrance of how their Jewish ancestors of Iberian descent, covered the floor of their prayer houses so that their footsteps would be muffled, and the suspicion of potential denouncers would not be aroused. Though the outside of the synagogue is unassuming with a very quiet courtyard, the interior gives a completely different aura with its high vaulted ceilings, azure stained glass windows, elegant pews, and a shinning mahogany behma. Attached to the synagogue is the Jewish Historical Cultural Museum which contains information on the history of the Jewish community as well as old scrolls and other artifacts dating back to the origin of the synagogue.

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