Community in Ecuador - World Jewish Congress

There are 600 Jews in Ecuador, according to statistics from 2020. The majority of Ecuadorian Jews are homogeneous and of German heritage, while Jews from other Latin American nations have recently strengthened the community.

The Jewish community in Ecuador is represented by the Asociación Israelita de Quito – the Ecuadorian affiliate of the World Jewish Congress.

WJC Affiliate
Comunidad Judía del Ecuador

Representatives: Roberto Andrade OE3-580 y Jaime Roldós

elephone: (593-2) 248-3800

President: Daniel Perez

The history of Jews in Ecuador dates back to the colonial period, with the first Sephardic Jews arriving in modern-day Southern Ecuador, escaping the Inquisition at the Viceroyalty of Lima between the late 16th and early 17th centuries. The presence of Sephardic Jews remained hidden for years in Ecuador, as Judaism was only practiced secretly at home.

In the centuries that followed, Jewish immigration was virtually non-existent. Some Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants arrived in Ecuador in the late 1920s. Still, it was not until the rise of the Nazis that a substantial number of permanent Jewish settlers arrived in the country, among them were artists, professors, and writers. The majority settled in Quito.

Many Jewish immigrants who arrived before and during World War II were admitted entry into Ecuador on the understanding that they would work in agricultural endeavors. Still, by the war's end, many had branched out to other professions. The Jews brought a revolutionized approach to technology, science, and the arts to Ecuador and were generally quite economically successful.

After the Second World War, many Ecuadorian Jews emigrated to the United States, Europe, and Israel causing a decline of the larger collective of Jews in Ecuador. There was a wave of immigration from Argentina and Chile in the 1970s, but emigration continued. Today, the Ecuadorian Jewish community is quite small, but relatively homogenous and well-organized as a community.

The years of the Holocaust

As countries around the world began to adopt strict immigration policies in the 1930s, especially about Jewish refugees, Ecuador still admitted a certain amount of immigrants. This included taking in German Jews aboard the ship “Koenigstein” after the ship had been refused entry by several South American countries.

Although a law was passed in the late 1930s that required foreigners to show that they were engaged in the stipulated occupation approved in their entry visas, no Jewish immigrants were ever deported for not complying with this law.

Overall, around 3,000 Jewish immigrants arrived in Ecuador between 1933 and 1943.


Hebrew University demographer Sergio DellaPergola estimated that the Ecuadorian Jewish population numbered between 600 and 1,000 people as of 2011. The majority of Ecuadorian Jews live in Quito, the capital, followed by the city of Guayaquil. There were also some small Jewish communities in Riobamba, Ambato and Cuenca. 

Community Life

Jewish life in Ecuador is organized around the Comunidad Judía del Ecuador, which is the central body for Jewish religious and cultural affairs in Quito. There are also several organizations such as B’nai Brith, a Jewish women´s society that does important social work inside and outside of the community, Hanoar Hatzioni which runs an active Youth movement, and representatives of HIAS, KKL-Jewish National Fund, and Keren Hayesod.

New headquarters for the Jewish communities were inaugurated in the year 2000 in Quito and 2012 in Guayaquil. They each have different spaces for recreation and activities for its members, including a synagogue, youth centers, and a mikveh for both men and women, in addition to large social areas including a public pool for the development of events and community activities.

Religious and Cultural life

Jewish religious life in Ecuador is somewhat diverse, considering the small size of the community. The communities in Quito and Guayaquil are Ashkenazi, with some Sephardic members who are active in the community. The Jewish community of Quito was Conservative for many years and has now come back to more Orthodox practice, as has also been the case in Guayaquil. Chabad Lubavitch is also present in the country.

Jewish Education

In May 1973, a group of members of the Israelite Association of Quito, which is now the Jewish Community of Ecuador, founded a school with an education based on the constant pursuit of academic excellence, opening its doors to the youth without distinction of nationality, race, or religious identity. Additionally, the goal within the framework of a secular educational concept was to develop studies of Hebrew and the history of Israel, destined to a better understanding of the millennial Jewish culture.

The Alberto Einstein Experimental Educational Unit is a secular, Spanish-English bilingual educational institution with Hebrew and French teaching and is recognized as one of the best schools in Ecuador for the excellent academic credentials and experience of its professionals.


Despite the small size of the community, there are some Jewish youth groups in Ecuador, mostly under the auspices of the community. The Tnua Noar Hatzioni operates on the premises of the Jewish Community of Quito.

Jewish Media

The Jewish community publishes a bilingual Spanish-German bulletin, Informaciones.

Relations with Israel

Israel and Ecuador maintain full diplomatic ties. Bilateral relations have been developed in all areas: political, commercial, cooperation, cultural and defense.

Embassy of Israel
Av. La Coruña E25-58 y San Ignacio
Edificio Altana Plaza

Telephone: +593-2 397-1500
Fax: 33971 555

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