The Jewish community is found primarily in the capital city of Paramaribo, known as the “wooden city” because of the preponderance of lovely wooden structures that line its streets. Paramaribo was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2002.
Synagogue Location: The Neve Shalom Synagogue, built in 1835, serves as the center of Jewish life in Suriname and is located at Keizerstraat 82-84 in the heart of downtown Paramaribo, Suriname’s capital.
The Jewish population of this small South American country can be traced back to the arrival of the first group of Jews to arrive in Suriname in the 1630’s. Most of these men and women were descendents of Jews fleeing the Spanish Inquisition and came from Holland, Portugal and Italy via Brazil.
Today, the community numbers some 200 individuals, 130 of whom are members of the country’s Neve Shalom Synagogue. Despite their relatively small number, their influence and presence is still felt throughout the country.
Suriname is the smallest country in South America. It is nature lover’s paradise, with over 90% of the country covered with dense rainforest jungles and rivers containing a rich diversity of rare animals, flora and fauna.
The country’s population is a mosaic of distinct ethnic groups such as: Hindustanies (from India), Javanese (from the island of Java in Indonesia), Maroons, Creoles, Indigenous Amerindians, Chinese and Europeans.