On Caribbean island first synagogue inaugurated in 200 years

28 January 2011

The Jewish community of St. Martin, a Dutch and French-owned island in the Caribbean, has opened its first synagogue since the 18th century. The shul is part of a new Chabad Center operated by Rabbi Moshe and Sara Chanowitz. It is part of an office space that once housed a church.

The Chanowitzes moved to St. Martin in 2009 to serve the 300 Jewish residents there. The Jewish population swells to about 1,000 during the tourist season. Jews first came to the island as refugees from the Spanish inquisition, and the community grew during the 16th and 17th centuries. The synagogue was abandoned in 1781 and later destroyed by a hurricane. A historic Jewish cemetery also was recently discovered.

Visit the website of Chabad St. Martin.

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