12 December 2009
Jamaica April 2008
In April of 2008 I had the opportunity to visit the Island of Jamaica. Although Jews started settling there in the 1660's, the real history began after the earthquake of 1692. The first Jewish communities established after the quake were Kingston and Spanish Town. Many of the early settlers were from London and Amsterdam. In fact the traditions of England are still widely seen. From driving on the wrong side of the road (my own humble opinion) to the hotels and shops named after English locations, such as the Gloucester Hotel (below).
While the numbers may be low, the Jews of Jamaica are an incredible group. I was able to travel around and visit with some of the current families and learn more about their history. Many people are surprised to find that on the Island there are almost 2 dozen Jewish cemeteries.
In many ways, the people are just like their homeland. They are warm and friendly. The Island of Jamaica is a beautiful place, full of life, color and a very peaceful location.
I hope to have the chance to return again.