Jamaica to Host “Jewish Diaspora of The Caribbean” International Conference

Jamaica will host the inaugural Jewish Diaspora of the Caribbean International Conference to be held in Kingston from January 12-14, 2010. The event will feature scholars from the United States, Jamaica, France and Israel, who will be addressing a wide range of topics from cultural history to Caribbean Jewish identity and heritage. “Jamaica has a respected and vibrant Jewish movement that has aided in the development of the country,” said John Lynch, Jamaica’s Tourism Director. “It is therefore important for us to support this conference that seeks to provide a greater understanding of the Jewish Community, not only in Jamaica, but in the wider Caribbean. We hope this event will also position Jamaica as the preferred destination for faith-based travelers.”
Following the event, from January 15 -16, participants can engage in a post-conference program that includes tours of prominent sites in Kingston that are of significant and historic value to the Kingston Jewish Community. From a tour of the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, where Jewish refugees from the Holocaust were housed during World War II, to Kiddush and Dinner with Kingston’s Jewish Community, conference participants will have a chance to explore and embrace the history of the Kingston Jewry.
“The Jewish Diaspora of the Caribbean” sponsors include: The United Congregation of Israelites of Kingston, Jamaica, The Jamaica Tourist Board, The Institute for Sephardic Studies of the Graduate Center, CUNY, The University of the West Indies, The American Sephardi Federation, The International Survey of Jewish Monuments, The Commonwealth Jewish Council, Laurence and Ronnie Levine and Dr. John deMercado.

For more in the original report go to http://www.sflcn.com/story.php?id=7604

Photo of Nidhe Israel Synagogue in Barbados by S. Mendez. One of the oldest synagogues in the Western Hemisphere, it was built in 1654. http://www.flickr.com/photos/39360369@N05/3641364844/in/photostream/

6 thoughts on “Jamaica to Host “Jewish Diaspora of The Caribbean” International Conference

  1. I hope conference participants will hear about the 1865 photo album of Jamaica that has recently been purchased by Princeton’s Firestone Library. In it there is a rare and unique photograph of Sidney Levien, editor of The County Union newspaper (Montego Bay) in the 1850s-60s. He was a supporter of the emancipated and indentured people, and political opponent of Governor Eyre during the period of the Morant Bay Rebellion, who was tried for sedition. He is a significant figure in Jamaican Jewish history who few people know about. Info on the photo album can be found at: http://blogs.princeton.edu/graphicarts/2009/10/album_covering_the_jamaica_reb.html

    1. Dear Mimi:
      Many thanks for sending this information. We will link to it on a post later today so our readers can have access to the photo and information link.
      Thanks, Lisa

    2. Hello Mimi. Thank you for this information on Sidney Lindo Levien. I have been researching his family and trying to find lineage to his grandfather Gottchalk Levien. As you know they migrated from Germany to Jamaica and settled in Montego Bay. My Levien family is from St. Catherine, Jamaica. I tried your link but was not able to find the photo to Sidney Levien. Please let me know how to find it.


      Sandra Levien

      1. hi Sandra,
        I have digital copies of the photo of Sidney Levien, as well as a paper I wrote about him that has about everything I know about him in it — if you send me your email address I can forward that to you. I can be reached at mimi (dot) sheller (at) drexel (dot) edu

      2. Hi Mimi,

        I have just emailed you a copy of Sidney Levien’s family tree. This is taken from the Donald Lindo CD. Donald is about 80 years old right now and managed a large family tree with over 70,000 names in Jamaica. This part of his CD shows all of Sidney Lindo Levien’s descendants up to now including current photos.

        I am a genealogist for the St. Catherine Parish of Jamaica. People from Germany, Australia and New Zealand have contacted me via Facebook asking if the St. Catherine Levien’s are related to the Montego Bay Levien’s (Sidney Levien, his father Solomon and his grandfather Gottschalk). These two are the only original Levien families in Jamaica. They possibly are related but I cannot find the lineage. So far I have traced up to my great, great, great grandfather Lewis Levien married to a Mary Ann. I found he was a slaveowner in the St. Dorothy’s area. I am thinking there has to be an easier way of tracing my Jewish ancestry. Any help is appreciated.


        Sandra Levien

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