Israelitische Gemeente Suriname
Suriname Jewish Community
Celebrating 379 years of Judaism in Suriname
It can be said that Jewish life in Suriname today is a challenge.
When Suriname was granted independence from Holland in 1975, almost 35% of Surinam’s population left the country, fearing a collapse of the new country’s economy. Many members of the Jewish community were among them.
When a brutal civil war erupted in the late 1980’s, more members left the country.
Today, the Jewish community is a small one and consists today of less than 200 individuals or about 100 members.
In 1999, the Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jewish communities merged and the congregation uses the magnificent wooden Neve Shalom Synagogue which was built between 1835 to 1837. The smaller, Zedek v' Shalom Synagogue (Justice and Peace in Hebrew), built in 1735, is currently rented.
A few years ago, the Jewish Community changed from Orthodox to Liberal. Due to lack of financial resources, there is no Rabbi. The Cantor (Chazan) runs the Friday night and Shabbat services. All the holidays, including the yearly communal Passover Seder, is attended by about 100 members and guests.
Jewish life today is centered in our Neve Shalom Synagogue. The Shamash (caretaker) building that is located near the synagogue houses the congregation's office, a small museum and the library. The Mahamad (community center) and the former house of the Rabbi, are also situated on the huge premises of the synagogue, together with the gravestones that were saved from the first Sephardic cemetery.
Recently, the community completed the renovation of the former Rabbi's apartment, and it is now rented by guests and tourists.
In 2008, the community completed the renovation of the 148 year old Mikvah with the help of donations from friends and Chai Members.
We are open and warm community, and we would love to share our rich and unique heritage with our guests.
Please come and visit us!