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The Lost Synagogue of Speightstown: New Findings in the Light of Recent Investigations

Lichtenstein, Rachel (2018) The Lost Synagogue of Speightstown: New Findings in the Light of Recent Investigations. Journal of the Barbados Museum and Historical Society, LXIV (85th A). pp. 196-226. ISSN 0005-5891

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Abstract

A small but influential community of Sephardi Jews settled in the port-town of ‘Speights’ (Speightstown) in the seventeenth century and established a synagogue. Congregants from Speightstown subsequently became founding members of the Rhode Island Synagogue (Newport) and the Bevis Marks Synagogue (London). This paper explores for the first time the historical details of the beginnings of this community and posits a new theory as to the possible survival of the synagogue after its alleged destruction in 1739. This preliminary research highlights the urgent need to conduct a major study into this fascinating –and almost forgotten—episode of the Caribbean Jewish presence.

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