Mikvé Israel-Emanuel (The Hope of Israel)
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Oldest Synagogue in the West
Who'd think that the tiny Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao is home to the oldest synagogue in continuous use in the Western Hemisphere?! A visit to majestic Mikvé Israel-Emanuel, simply "Snoa" (Synagogue in Papiamentu), is a MUST and holds a prominent spot on many bucket lists. A yellow skyscraper located smack in the middle of Punda constructed in Dutch architectural style, Snoa is a testament to hope and survival, a veritable homage to understanding and tolerance. Built in 1732 as a tropical replica of the oldest synagogue in Amsterdam (1670/71), Snoa's ancestry dates back to 1651 when the first 12 Portuguese Sephardic Jewish families settled in Curacao by way of Amsterdam, after being exiled from Spain and Portugal during the Inquisition. Don't miss Snoa's one-of-a-kind floor -- covered in white sand!
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