Jamaica’s many colors

With one of the oldest Jewish communities in the New World, the island nation is looking to attract Jewish tourists

February 28, 2013 11:20
An aerial view of Jamaica's shoreline (Paul M Sofe

jamaica 311. (photo credit: Paul M. Sofer)


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Eastern European countries have already created a successful cottage industry from Jewish roots tours, but now a new destination wants to get in on the act: Jamaica. While the Caribbean island has been home to considerably fewer Jews than other Jewish tourism destinations – even at its peak in the late 19th century, the community numbered only some 2,500 – the Jews who did arrive here, sometimes tempest-tossed, have a rich and intriguing past. And that past stretches back to the European colonization of the Caribbean, making it one of the oldest Jewish communities in the New World.

Plus, when you are not sifting through the sands of Jewish history, you can run your fingers through the sands of Jamaica’s stunning beaches, which is more than can be said for the Czech Republic or Hungary.


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