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History of Jewish immigration

The Suriname Jewish community is one of the oldest existing Jewish communities in the Americas.

The Jewish population of this small South American country since the arrival of the first group of Jews to arrive in Suriname in the 1630s. Most of these men and women descendants of Jews who fled the Spanish Inquisition and came from Holland, Portugal and Italy through Brazil.

In 1652, a second group of Jews came to Suriname with Lord Francis Willoughby, the English Governor General of the West Indies.

In 1664, a third group of 200 Jews came from Cayenne (French Guiana today), after the French occupied the area.

In recognition of the importance of the Jewish population in the colony , the British colonial government granted various special privileges to the community on 17 August 1665. Among them: freedom of religion, permission to build synagogues and Jewish schools, the right to have its own court and private civil guard ( army).
These rights of the Jews in Surinam are remarkable because they were the only community in the diaspora to achieve full political autonomy before the foundation of the State of Israel.

Today, the community has about 300 people, 130 of whom are members of the Neve Shalom synagogue.
Despite their relatively small numbers, their influence and presence is felt throughout the country.

A little about the country

Suriname, formerly Dutch Guiana or Dutch, is a country in America.

Located north of South America, bordering the Atlantic Ocean to the north , bordering French Guiana to the east, Guyana to the west and Brazil to the south.

Its territory of 163,270 km and a population of about 526,000 inhabitants, according to the UN in early 2011, the smallest independent countries in South America and just higher than that of French Guiana.

Its capital is the city of Paramaribo, and it was added to the World Heritage List of UNESCO in 2002.

It is divided into ten districts and these suburbs .
The country is divided religiously between Catholics , Hindus , Muslims and Protestants.

Due to its proximity to the line of Ecuador Suriname climate is tropical.

Suriname is the smallest country in South America. It is a lover of natural paradise, with over 90 % of the territory covered by dense jungle rainforest and rivers that contain a rich diversity of rare animals, flora and fauna.

The language is Dutch, and Spanish and English are also used.
The currency is the Surinamese dollar.