Jewish Sanctuary in the Atlantic World
A Social and Architectural History
Publication Year: 2014
Published by: University of South Carolina Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
In April 2007 I joined scores of people to attend a special service at the Snoa—the venerable synagogue of Curaço, built in 1732, home to Congregation Mikvé Israel-Emanuel, the oldest surviving synagogue in the Americas, where no Sabbath or major holiday has gone uncelebrated in 278 years. Inside...
Jewish Sanctuary in the Atlantic World was a labor of love that took me on adventures to its geographic four corners. Nonetheless, I could not have done it without some very special people and institutions. To begin with is David Rittenberg. His editorial assistance and fact checking was solid in an area...
Sanctuary from expulsion, torture, extortion, and riot: this was the haven offered by the New World for the crypto-Jews and New Christians fleeing repression as Iberian Catholic monarchs endorsed persecution.1 Beginning in the seventeenth century, however, more tolerant Protestant societies of...
Chapter 1: The Origin of the Atlantic World Synagogue
Buildings, like people, contain multitudes: so too the Atlantic World synagogues built between the early seventeenth and early nineteenth centuries. Like people these houses of worship can also be understood as telling distinct, though at times synchronous, narratives: of Jews as they left Europe and settled...
Chapter 2 Jews and Conversos during the Age of Discovery
A geographer would look at the terra firma of the Atlantic World—whether continental, coastal, peninsular, or island—and observe that the land, always bounded by the ocean, strides the hemispheres between Canada (Montreal) in the north and Brazil (Recife) in the south. Yet in this vastness, I have placed...
Chapter 3: Jews under Protestant Dominion before 1675: Brave New World
During the sixteenth century, as rapid-fire exploration and imperial conquest followed in the wake of Columbus and Cabral, we have seen conversos seek out New Spain, Brazil, and Peru. Hoping to escape the Inquisition’s tentacles, these New Christians deliberately pursued lives of obscurity far away from...
Chapter 4: Jewish Prosperity in the Protestant Atlantic World, 1675–1775
On 11 March 1669, the eight Lords Proprietors of Carolina—a province then encompassing a great swathe of land between Virginia and Florida—published The Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina. The chief Lord Proprietor, Anthony Ashley Cooper (1621–83), wrote it with the assistance of no less...
Chapter 5: Jewish Enfranchisement in the Protestant Atlantic World after 1775
Caught up in the American and French Revolutions, then the Napoleonic Wars, the Jews of Europe and the New World rapidly encountered a condition they had not known before—enfranchisement as equal citizens. This status followed from the recognition of freedom of conscience as inalienably...
Chapter 6: Jews and Non-Caucasians in the Atlantic World
The history of Jews in the Atlantic World has unfolded thus far as the experience of a religious minority. From this perspective, very small Jewish populations were sometimes persecuted, often penalized, and occasionally tolerated by Christian majorities. But from 1500 until 1800, the exploration and imperial...
In retrospect there is an almost uncanny homogeneity governing Atlantic World synagogue-communities during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.1 So vast a geographic space, such embryonic settlements touching “new” continents, seas, or islands, so small a number of Sephardic colonists—and...
Appendix: Survey of Atlantic World Synagogues
About the Authors