Monday, 24 December 2007

Schomburgk on the Jews of Barbados

"According to the can appears that tlie earliest settlement of the Jews in this island dates from about 1628 A tomb is at present standing in one of the burial grounds bearing date 1658 Although they were occasionally subjected to persecution and oppression the policy they exhibited in keeping on good terms with the powers that were caused their civil rights to be extended in 1680 and their testimony which had been long rejected in the courts of law was from that time admitted in all civil suits though not in other cases upon in oath taken upon the five books of Moses according to the tenets of their religion The Colonial Act of 1 William IV cap 10 which passed the Legislature on the 25th of March 1831 removed any restraint or disabilities under which persons professing the Hebrew religion then Ubourrd and subjected them like other white persons to fines and penalties for the non performance of duties At one period the congregation consisted of a very large number but fmm deaths and many of the European families returning to England the number has been reduced The circumstance of their having so many"

"handsomest and most substantial buildings of its kind in the West Indies Its size is fifty feet long by forty feet wide and it occupies an area of 2000 square feet its cost amounted to 14,000 dollars about 2,920 which was met by the funds of the community without extraneous assistance from any quarter1 The name of the congregation is Kaal Kadosh Nidhe Israel or the holy scattered congregation of Israel The funds at present do not allow the payment of a salary to a reader and the service is therefore performed by three members alternately The congregation consists of a warden a killer and examiner of meats an officer who has the care of the synagogue and a total number of seventy individuals half of whom are natives of the island The expenditure is met by seat rents and voluntary contributions There is a public Sabbath school entitled Shangere Limud or the Gate of Learning which between the hours of ten and one o clock is attended by five females and ten males"

The following more detailed description of the synagogue is from the Barbados Glohe of April 1st 1833 It is thirty seven feet high and receives considerable strength from the rounding of the angles which are capped with large antique censers uniting a balustratcd parapet all round the roof being so little elevated as not to In perceived The windows are lancet shaped and tastefully harmonize with the proportions of the building a double flight of stone steps on the north side covered with a Gothic hood leads to the gallery within the whole of the exterior is lightly tinged of stone colour and scored out in blocks and the appearance altogether is classical and chaste those walls which had hitherto rendered the passage to the old synagogue so dull and sombre being now lowered so as to afford one general view of the whole at the entrance of the avenue The court yard around this edifice is well drained and neatly paved and a handsome marble fountain occupies a niche within the inner court railed otf by an iron trellis The interior corresponds with the outer appearance a light and tasteful gallery supported by neat Doric columns The reader's desk in the body of the edifice is sufficiently elevated give n conspicuous view of the persons officiating From the ceiling is suspended each comer in front of the gallery a single brass chandelier of eight lights and in centre one of a similar kind containing twenty four The area of the building paved in alternate squares of black and white marble and the ceiling painted in produces a most pleasing effect as well from the artist like manner in which it executed as from the chasteness of its design It is computed to hold about three persons"

No comments: