In the 1930’s a handful of European Jewish families seeking refuge from anti-Semitism and Hitler made their way to Barbados and planted roots here. Their grandchildren, fifty years later, took it upon themselves to rescue and restore the threatened Nidhe Israel synagogue — built in 1654 by a Sephardic community that had thrived on the island for 200 years and then vanished.
Today, fourth and fifth generation Bajan (<bājən> informal term for a Barbadian resident) Jews comprise a majority of our tiny kehillah of 50+ full-time residents, however every winter our numbers are bolstered by the arrival of dozens of long-term “snow birds” from the UK, United States, and Canada, as well as short-term visitors from all over the world.
During the Winter season, from Hanukah to Pesach, we utilize the historic Nidhe Israel facilities in downtown Bridgetown for our communal functions, including our regular Friday night Kabbalat Shabbat service at 6:30 pm. During the Summer season, from Pesach to Hanukah, the community holds its weekly Kabbalat Shabbat services and other gatherings (including High Holiday celebrations) at the residential Sha’are Tzedek synagogue on Rockley New Road in Christ Church.
Kehillat Barbados is an egalitarian community that is affiliated with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) in North America as well as the Commonwealth Jewish Council of the UK.