Jewish history on St. Eustatius is intriguing. Jewish merchants first came to Statia as early as the 1680's and had integrated into the community by the early 1720's. The population was initially mostly of Sephardic denomination, however by 1730 Ashkenazi Jews from Eastern Europe also moved to Statia. The two groups were often in conflict and were a civil problem to the authorities. In 1736 the Jewish groups requested the right to build their own Synagogue. They were granted permission to build the Synagogue, and the building was completed in 1739 with the help of donations from the congregation of the Synagogue in Curacao. The Synagogue was named Honen Dalim, which means "She Who is Charitable to the Poor", and is one of the oldest in the Americas. Honen Dalim and the congregation would suffer many hardships over the next 100 years, until she was finally abandoned by the 1850's. From this time until 2001 the Synagogue sat in a state of ruin. In 2001 the exterior of the Synagogue was restored as part of the Historic Core Restoration Project. Now funds are being sought from private donors for a complete restoration that would return the Synagogue to its former glory and allow a place for future worship and as a testament to the history of Jews on St. Eustatius. For more information visit www.statiasynagogueproject.org
Left- Right: Honen Dalim in 1997- prior to restoration of the brick work and stone masonry, the Ten Commandments Gate at the Jewish Cemetery, the tree of life inside the Jewish Cemetery, the original Mikveh (ceremonial bath for women)- discovered by SECAR archaeologists in 2005.