Community in Honduras - World Jewish Congress

According to the estimates in the U.S. Department of State's "2021 Report on International Religious Freedom," Honduras had one of the smallest Jewish populations in Central America, with about 275 members, as reported in 2021. Though there have been some antisemitic incidents, Honduran Jews are generally able to practice Judaism freely and openly and have benefited from international Jewish and Israeli assistance.

The Jewish community in Honduras is represented by the Comunidad Hebrea de Tegucigalpa, the Honduran affiliate of the World Jewish Congress.

WJC Affiliate
Comunidad Hebrea de Tegucigalpa

+504 231-0736
+504 231-0736
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President: Sonia Seidel

The first Jews in Honduras arrived during the colonial period, having been expelled from Spain during the Inquisition. Many of these arrivals were “Marranos,” or crypto-Jews. Over time, they completely assimilated and identified fully as Christians. A descendant of these settlers of Jewish origin, Juan Nepomuceno Fernández Lindo, served as President of El Salvador from 1841 to 1842 and later as President of Honduras from 1847 to 1852. At the end of the 19th century, a small number of Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews arrived in Honduras. They were mainly immigrants from Eastern Europe (Russia, Poland, Germany, Romania, and Hungary) and Greece, Turkey, and North Africa.

In the early 20th century, after World War I, Jewish immigrants from countries in central Europe began to arrive in Honduras. This was largely a result of the Honduran government publicly encouraging Jewish educators and professionals from Europe to immigrate to Honduras. Most of the families that arrived during this time later formed the two distinctive Honduran Jewish communities in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula.

After the Holocaust, there were less than 140 Jews throughout the country. The settlement benefited from the 1948 arrival of over 60 Jews; a portion of these Jewish immigrants played a leading role in the growth of the Honduran tourism sector. Overall, the new immigrants tried to maintain, within their means, a Jewish lifestyle. Although they came from religious homes, they were not successful in their attempt to pass on the traditions of Judaism to the next generation. There were very few young Honduran Jews, and mixed marriages and assimilation became an accepted lifestyle. Some spouses chose to convert to Judaism, and in a very small number of these situations, rabbis traveled to Honduras just to perform the conversion. The following decades saw the Honduran Jewish population slowly decline as intermarriage and emigration became more common.

In the 1970s and early 1980s, a large group of Israelis came to Honduras to work in engineering, agriculture, and security. They brought with them both their families and a Jewish lifestyle, which helped reinforce religious life in Honduras. In that same period, a group of Hondurans who had spent some time in Israel and returned with a better understanding of the country and their heritage created the Honduras Israel Cultural Institute, further strengthening the cultural practice of Judaism.

The Jewish community founded the first synagogue in Tegucigalpa in 1997, but Hurricane Mitch sadly destroyed it the following year. However, thanks to international aid, the temple was rebuilt and consecrated in 2002. Such developments are indicative of the gradual growth of the Jewish community in Honduras, a trend of the last few decades. Today, Honduran Jews live generally peacefully and are included in Honduran political, social, and cultural life. Ricardo Maduro served as president from 2002 to 2006.

The years of the Holocaust

A few Jewish refugees from Germany were able to reach Honduras in the 1930s after the development of Nazism, but the Honduran government severely limited the immigration of Jews, Roma, and other foreigners in 1939. Nonetheless, a sizable number of Jews were still able to enter the nation with the assistance of Honduran consuls positioned around Europe.

Additionally, Honduras granted numerous passports and visas to European Jews who had managed to flee the Nazi and collaborationist regimes. President Tiburcio Carías Andino of Honduras issued an order to the nation's European consuls to grant Honduran asylum visas to young people who had fled the Holocaust through Switzerland or the Netherlands and were related to some families who were already established in Honduras, following the appeals of powerful local Jews such as Salvador Schacher in Tegucigalpa and José Brandel and Boris Goldstein in San Pedro Sula. Many European Jews were spared their lives as a result of their efforts, even if many of the visas were not utilized to enter Honduras.


The Comunidad Hebrea de Tegucigalpa estimates that there are approximately 40 Jews in Honduras. The majority of them live in the nation’s capital, Tegucigalpa. There is also a small Jewish community in San Pedro Sula.

Community Life

Honduran Jewish life is primarily based on the activities of the Comunidad Hebrea de Tegucigalpa, which serves as the body that represents the community. In the last 25 years, a substantial number of international Jewish organizations, including the Women's International Zionist Organization (WIZO), the Jewish Agency, and Maccabi, have begun to work out of Honduras. In addition, a number of Israeli organizations have become affiliated with the Honduran Jewish community and have helped to grow and enhance Jewish cultural life in Honduras.

Religious and Cultural life

Despite the small size of the Jewish community in Honduras, there are synagogues in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula: the Shevit Ajim Synagogue in Tegucigalpa and the Maguen David Synagogue in San Pedro Sula. The two communities hold Shabbat services and celebrate all Jewish religious holidays.

Kosher Food

Some kosher food can be found in Honduras, but it is largely limited to the capital of Tegucigalpa.

Jewish Education

There is no Jewish day school in Honduras, though the Communidad Hebrea de Tegucigalpa offers a number of educational activities for Honduran Jews, including a Jewish Sunday school and studies on Judaism for youth and adults. Talmud Torah classes are also available.


Honduran Jewry is associated with the Federation of Zionist Latin American Students. Other Jewish youth activities are organized by the Communidad Hebrea de Tegucigalpa.

Relations with Israel

Honduras was one of the first countries to recognize the State of Israel in 1948, and the two countries have maintained diplomatic relations ever since. Incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernández has the distinction of being the first graduate of Israel's International Cooperation Development Program (MASHAV) to become a head of state.

After establishing an office in Jerusalem in September 2019, the government of Honduras viewed it as an extension of the Honduran Embassy. According to President Juan Orlando Hernández of Honduras, the full diplomatic office would be transferred when Israel likewise creates an embassy in Tegucigalpa.

In January 2020, Honduras designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

Israeli Honorary Consulate



Moises Starkman is Israel’s Honorary Consul in Honduras.

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