Curacao is an island a little north of Venezuela. It identifies mostly as a Dutch colony, but I believe it is largely independent today. It has its own local language and its own local currency.
And it has one of the longest histories of a Jewish community in the Americas, including the oldest continuing-to-function synagogues in the Americas.
The Curacao Jewish community has a fascinating history, which I can't go into in this space. However, in more recent history, until this week, there hadn't been a bris in Curacao for 12 years.
This is most likely a reflection of certain demographics, in that fewer younger people are remaining there, choosing to move off the island for other pastures.
There are babies, and little kids. But of the children I saw, most were girls. The occasional boy had moved to Curacao, but was not born on the island and did not have his bris on the island.
All that changed when this guy came along.
Look how he rocks that kippah!
It was an honor to be the first mohel in Curacao in over a decade. Aside from being a new destination for me, it was fascinating to see a community with such a rich history. The museum at the Mikve Israel - Emanuel synagogue has some incredible pieces of Judaica, dating back hundreds of years.
As for the bris: the next two pictures are of the same chair. It is an old chair, been used on the island for close to a hundred years. It has a unique form of the "kisei Eliyahu" (Elijah's chair) attached to it, with a bottom that slides out from the side of the main chair, and a back that swings around to form the back of the chair. There is also a board that comes out of the chair from the front (shown here) which was probably made for the mohel to put his surgical instruments. It is impractical for a whole host of reasons, so I slid it back into the chair, then put my Eliyahu HaNavi Chair drape.
Here are some pics from the old synagogue, Mikve Israel-Emanuel
|The date of when they began building is hinted to in the verse above the door (5490 = 1730). The building was completed 2 years later.|
|Note the sandy floor! This was done on purpose!|
I found this next feature fascinating. Note the names of the 4 Mothers of the Jewish people etched in the columns!
I also enjoyed walking around a bit
Here's the old synagogue... now a law office.
Here's some street art
Here are some panorama shots of the water and the downtown area
A few more from downtown
And finally a video of a tower clock with an interesting bell system
I also have a video of the longest pontoon bridge in the world, which opens and closes when a boat needs to go through. But it's too long for me to upload. 😲
It was a new destination, so a longer kind of blog post. Ciao!