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Mikvé Israel – Emanuel Synagogue

Mikvé Israel – Emanuel Synagogue

For hundreds of years, Curaçao has had a significant Jewish community who helped make the island a center of trade and banking. Their heritage is in evidence at the "Hope of Israel" synagogue, consecrated in 1732. The Dutch-colonial building displays many artifacts—Torah ornaments, mahogany reading tables, ceremonial bowls—and a sand floor, a Sephardic tradition that dates back to the Spanish Inquisition. Adjacent to the courtyard is the Jewish Historical Cultural Museum, originally a rabbi’s residence, as well as a traditional bathhouse.

Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue
Curaçao’s only synagogue is also the oldest continually used Jewish temple in the Americas. In 2016, its main building, the Snoa, celebrated 365 years since its founding. The yellow neoclassical structure is hard to miss from the Columbusstraat in Willemstad, towering over a row of popular outdoor restaurants. The synagogue serves about 145 Jewish households in Curaçao. Its most distinguishing feature is its dusty floor—a reminder that the congregants' ancestors were Spanish Portuguese Jews during the Spanish Inquisition who had to cover the floor with sand to muffle the sound of their worship. Caps are provided at the entrance for the men to wear while touring the synagogue, and admission includes a visit to the Jewish Cultural Historical Museum across the courtyard.
Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue Willemstad  Curaçao

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!
Oldest Synagogue in the West Willemstad  Curaçao

Hanchi di Snoa 29, Punda, Willemstad, Curaçao
+599 9 461 1067