Monday, January 07, 2008

The Jews Of Panama

I came across this in the archives of The Jewish Journal [scroll down Note: link now broken: try here and scroll down] from 1998: an account by Lauren Kramer of her visit to the Panamanian Jewish community.
Into the Welcoming Arms of the Jews of Panama

...Panama's Jewish community is distinguished in two respects. First, it is the only country in the world - besides Israel - to have had two Jewish presidents in the 20th century - Max Shalom Delvalle (1969) and Eric Delvalle Maduro (1987-1988). Second, unlike the majority of Jewish populations worldwide, Panama's Jews are increasing in number, according to a 1996 report by the World Jewish Congress. In the last two decades immigration to Panama - particularly of Israelis - has trebled the number of Jews here, bringing it to approximately 7,000.

The Jewish community boasts a superb infrastructure, with two Jewish day schools, kosher supermarkets, bakeries and restaurants, a Hebrew Cultural Center, a Jewish club and a host of Jewish organizations. There are three synagogues in Panama City, with a fourth under construction, and Orthodox Jews constitute 75 percent of a community that has existed in Panama since the 1850s. Some Jews came via Portugal after their descendants were expelled from Spain in 1492. Fidanque, for example, has traced his ancestry back to Zarazoga, Spain, and the year 1279. Other members of Panama's Jewish community came here seeking refuge from the Holocaust.
Read the whole thing [scroll down Note: link now broken: try here and scroll down].

See also: The Forgotten Jewish Community of Greece and The 1,500 Year Old Jewish Community in China

Technorati Tag: and .

No comments: