Sunday, March 16, 2008

Barbados - Mikvah Uncovered Near Oldest Synagogue

Barbados - Mikvah Uncovered Near Oldest Synagogue
Barbados - A MAJOR historical Jewish structure was recently uncovered close to the synagogue in The City.

University of the West Indies students, led by doctoral candidate Michael Stoner, uncovered a mikvah during an archaeological dig.

Manager of the Nidhe Israel Museum, which is housed on the same compound, Celso Brewster, said the discovery of the mikvah was a great find and would be a "very big" visitor attraction. The museum and synagogue already draw a large number of visitors to the historic site.

"Hopefully it [the mikvah] will add significantly to heritage tourism," Brewster said.

He explained that while excavations were done in the cemetery in the past, the effort by the students over the past month was the first major one done on that side of the compound.

Among the oldest of synagogues in the Western Hemisphere, this place was built in 1654 by Jews from Brazil, who were escaping the Inquisition. The original synagogue was destroyed by a hurricane and built again in the 1830s. The current building was beautifully restored in a major project (1984-1990) sponsored by the small local Jewish community and the Barbados National Trust. The synagogue has elaborate interiors, with detailed woodwork and elegant chandeliers. The cemetery, with some headstones in Hebrew, dates from the 1660s. [nation news]

see below footage of the Shul itself

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