Oldest Synagogue in the New World, Curaçao 1955 (50532)

Tercentennial Issue

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Listing Details

Lot Number: 50532
Title (English): Oldest Synagogue in the New World
Note: Tercentennial Issue
City: Curaçao
Publisher: Courant
Publication Date: 1955
Estimated Price: $200.00 USD - $500.00 USD
Content/listingImages/20210117/fd899f98-dfd6-4510-91d9-560580a076c3_fullsize.jpg Content/listingImages/20210117/47fc5085-7993-4c0a-9445-d1442fe52aaf_fullsize.jpg


Physical Description

48 pp., octavo, 203:145 mm., light age staining. A very good copy bound as published.


Detail Description

Booklet issued in commeratipon of the Synagogue's 300th year.

The Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue in Willemstad, Curaçao, is the oldest surviving synagogue in the Americas. It is commonly known as the Snoa (short for esnoga, an old Portuguese and Ladino word for synagogue) and is a major tourist attraction in Curaçao, with one notable group of visitors including Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and her family, in 1992.

The community (congregation Mikvé Israel) dates from the 1650s, and consisted of Spanish and Portuguese Jews from the Netherlands and Brazil. The first synagogue building was purchased in 1674; the current building dates from 1730. One visitor to the synagogue observed, upon entering through a quiet courtyard, viewing the azure stained glass windows and walking across a sand covered floor toward the carved mahogany Holy Ark that the sand floors remind congregants "of how its Jewish ancestors on the Iberian peninsula covered the floors of their makeshift prayer houses so that their footsteps would be muffled and the suspicion of potential denouncers would not be aroused." With its three high vaulted ceilings, the Holy Ark and the pulpit, the galleries, the benches and the chandeliers, the interior of the synagogue bears a marked resemblance to the Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam. Attached to the synagogue is the Jewish Historical Cultural Museum, whose collection includes replicas of artistic tombstones from the Beit Chaim Bleinheim in Curaçao, the oldest Jewish cemetery still in use in the Western Hemisphere.


Hebrew Description