Have you ever heard of the "The United Congregation Of Israelites Of Jamaica?"
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I must say, this seems like a most interesting topic to explore!
This group (The United Congregation Of Israelites of Jamaica) seems to be based in Kingston. Please find below a number of publications (perhaps associated with or possibly endorsed by this group) giving historical background on the mysterious "Israelite" situation in Jamaica:
The Knell of Parting Day
by Marilyn Delevante
Very little physical or written material exists regarding the Jews that inhabited the notorious town of Port Royal during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Yet hidden away, in the bushes behind Spanish Town Road in St Andrew, Jamaica is an ancient graveyard with 350 graves – forgotten...
The Portuguese Jews of Jamaica
by Mordechai Arbell
This book takes us from the Portuguese Jews who settled Jamaica during the time of the Spanish occupation to early in the 20th century. It is richly developed with black and white illustrations.The chapters include the Jews of Port Royal, Jewish settlements of Jamaica, Jewish rights and disablitities as well as Jewish economic activities. The last chapter under the heading Cultural life deals briefly with the lives of noteworthy Jews. There is a short list as an illustration of Jews in Jamaica and Barbados in the late 1600's. A list of cemetaries taken from other sources is listed in the appendix. Though it does not add a great deal to the other Jewish sources listed on this site, it is interesting for its illustrations of the synagogues of Kingston and its bibliography.
The Island of One People
by Marilyn Delevante and Anthony Alberga
The Island of One People: An Account of the History of the Jews of Jamaica redresses this unawareness in an engaging exploration of the Jewish-Jamaican community and its contribution to the development of Jamaica. From the early merchants of Kingston to the development and modernization of the Kingston Harbour, the construction of numerous Housing Developments, and landmark buildings such as the Ward Theatre; from the development of companies such as the Lascelles deMercado conglomerate with interests in sugar, rum, insurance, motor car agencies and airport and shipping services, to the establishment of the renowned Gleaner newspaper, arguably the oldest newspaper in the western hemisphere; from representing Jamaica internationally to the now iconic work of Belisario; the contribution of the Jewish community in nation building in Jamaica is unquestionable.
The Jewish Nation of the Caribbean
by Mordechai Arbell
A fascinating exploration of the Spanish-Portuguese Jewish Settlements in the Caribbean and the Guianas. Reviews the little-known histories of fourteen of the Jewish communities of the Caribbean that were once the lifeblood of the region but have long since diminished or even vanished. Includes Surinam, the "Jewish Savannah" where a vibrant Jewish community was granted full and equal rights two hundred years before others in the region. St. Eustatius, economically successful until plundered by the British occupation in 1781. Curacao, named the "Mother of Jewish Communities in the New World," where a prosperous Jewish community numbered nearly half of Curacao's non-slave population and was the center of Jewish life in the region. An ideal resource for those traveling to the region or those with an interest in Jewish history
The Book of Mechtilde
by Anna Ruth Henriques
"In the land of Jah, there lived a good woman named Mechtilde." So begins Anna Ruth Henriques's extraordinary tribute to her mother, Sheila Mechtilde Henriques, who was crowned Miss Jamaica in 1959 and became a beloved symbol of hope and optimism to her fellow Jamaicans in the years leading to the former colony's independence. Mechtilde's untimely death after a long struggle with cancer was cause for sorrow throughout Jamaica. This tribute is an illuminated manuscript inspired by the book of Job, and includes heartbreakingly beautiful poetry and prose alongside intricately detailed paintings. The Book of Mechtilde feels ancient, not only in its format (illuminated manuscripts are associated with medieval texts), but also in the intensity of these poetic lamentations, which are often tied to nature. Here, Henriques compares her loss to unseasonable weather: "No! Not yet / no rain / not the right time of year / not ready / prepared / to feel / what you are ready / to show me."
This should prove to be some interesting reading, I'd say!
Find out the reasons why Jamaica is so special among all other nations!
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