Jewish life in DR

alanamarie

New member
Dec 11, 2007
64
2
0
Can anyone tell me anything about Jewish life in DR? I know there is a small Jewish community in Sosua, but from what I understand, many are actually Messianic Jews. Does anybody know if that is accurate or not? Are services held in (both in Sosua & in Sto Domingo) in Spanish or English, or primarily in Hebrew? What about the religious school (Sunday/Hebrew instruction, not day school)- Spanish or English or both?
Thanks for any help.
 

PICHARDO

One Dominican at a time, please!
May 15, 2003
12,321
266
83
Santiago de Los 30 Caballeros
Can anyone tell me anything about Jewish life in DR? I know there is a small Jewish community in Sosua, but from what I understand, many are actually Messianic Jews. Does anybody know if that is accurate or not? Are services held in (both in Sosua & in Sto Domingo) in Spanish or English, or primarily in Hebrew? What about the religious school (Sunday/Hebrew instruction, not day school)- Spanish or English or both?
Thanks for any help.
Jewish life in the DR is not any different to the life of any Dominican...

You're right on the issue of messianic Jews, since 3rd to 4th generations that stood in the DR became too entangle with the popular beliefs.

I'm secular but as secular as you can get... LOL
I don't know of any synagogues in Santiago because I never went to one, but traditions (if you want to call them that) are alive and well within the family circle. I heard that there's a synagogue in Santo Domingo around Sarasota, but I never went there so wouldn't know anything about it if in fact is there.

I know that they have a synagogue in kibbutz Sosua ever since the first Jew made it there. About services you have to contact them directly.
They do have a Torah and Talmud lessons there as well. I don't know if they conduct the services in Hebrew or Spanish but my guess would be Hebrew...

As for the Jewish experience in DR I can't say I could comment on it since I pretty much lived like any Dominican does, Xmass tree and all!!! The only good thing is that when we had family come visit during Jewish holydays I got my presents too!!!!

BTW: My mother is Jew, my pops is not (he's very catholic) and I? Well, like I said: VEEEEEEEEEEEEERY Secular...
Oh! Almost forgot: Messianic! LOL!!!!!!

Shalom!
 

Hillbilly

Moderator
Jan 1, 2002
18,946
503
113
There is a small community in Sos?a, that just lost one of their main supporters, a fine gentleman that decided that life in NYC was better, all around, for his family. I heard that that there was a recent passing of one of the oldest members of the synagogue. Meetings are usually held on Friday or Saturday, but you do need to call to find out. Every once in a while a rabbi comes up from Santo Domingo.

I will ask about services in Santiago and Santo Domingo.

HB
 

qgrande

Bronze
Jul 27, 2005
805
4
0
Services are held each Friday in Santo Domingo, apart from once a month when the rabbi from the capital goes to Sosua. Services are in Hebrew and Spanish. In the capital there is a good turnout, but in Sosua there are very very few people who attend regularly. The Santo Domingo synagogue is on Sarasota. There are no services in Santiago.
 

Robert

Stay Frosty!
Jan 2, 1999
20,575
326
83
dr1.com
You will see a new article on DR1 sometime this week about this very subject.
I'll post in this thread when it's uploaded to the site.
 

Chirimoya

Moderator - East Coast & Headline News
Dec 9, 2002
17,756
853
113
My mother is Jew, my pops is not (he's very catholic) and I? Well, like I said: VEEEEEEEEEEEEERY Secular...
Oh! Almost forgot: Messianic! LOL!!!!!!

Shalom!
The community is not messianic, in the sense that I understand it. Maybe some individuals, though.

Pichardo - is your mother from the Sosua community or did her family arrive here via another route? Feel free to PM if you don't want to share here.

I was at the Santo Domingo synagogue's Hannukah party a few days ago and the impression was that most of the people there were expatriates from Israel, other Latin American countries, the US - as well as some Dominican converts or spouses.
 

J D Sauser

Silver
Nov 20, 2004
2,929
357
83
www.hispanosuizainvest.com
I once was told by a Santo Domingo cab driver who knew a lot of things (que sabe mucho, tu sabe), that there was/is a Jewish cementery [sp?] close to his house (I have never been there). And he added that "they" walk around like "padrecitos", which indicated to me that there may be an orthodox community in Santo Domingo (?).

... J-D.
 

PICHARDO

One Dominican at a time, please!
May 15, 2003
12,321
266
83
Santiago de Los 30 Caballeros
The community is not messianic, in the sense that I understand it. Maybe some individuals, though.

Pichardo - is your mother from the Sosua community or did her family arrive here via another route? Feel free to PM if you don't want to share here.

I was at the Santo Domingo synagogue's Hannukah party a few days ago and the impression was that most of the people there were expatriates from Israel, other Latin American countries, the US - as well as some Dominican converts or spouses.
Will do!




:chinese:
 

Bryanell

Bronze
Aug 9, 2005
671
67
48
The Jewish Community in Santo Domingo (the one with the synagogue in Sarasota near Churchill) is traditionalistic as is the mini one in Sosua, rather than orthodox, but definitely not "Messianic". The community is a mix of established Dominicans, some here for several generations or more, others 2 or 3 generations seniority, recent arrivals, temporaries and other "expats" Services on Friday evenings sometimes draw up to 50 or so celebrants.

There is a Jewish cemetery in Santo Domingo next to the main cemetery up on Maximo Gomez.

Community activities at the Centro Israelito in SD include studies of Torah, Kaballah, modern Hebrew, children's classes, social and other events. Recently there have been a number of "relief" operations for the damnificados of TS Noel, distribution of food, milk, bedding and other necessities for those made homeless in the SD region, and a day clinic in Cambita Garabito.


There is a community of "Messianics" in Naco with their own "temple" and "rabbi" but there is no connection between the two communities.
I will not enter the discussion as to whether "Messianics" are Jewish in anything except the outward appearance of some of them that might be confused with orthodox Jews.
 

alanamarie

New member
Dec 11, 2007
64
2
0
I appreciate very much all the information. I am quite glad to have stumbled on this board for the kind of first-hand practical information that you all seem to be able to provide. I will have many more questions (on a variety of topics, I am sure!). The issue of Judaism is a primary one, though, in that it will be a motivating factor in where we settle. I realize I will not have as many options as I do here in the States; I am a reform Jew, and though not ultra-observant, I do want to continue my children's religious education and their very strong Jewish identity. Knowing the history of Sosua, we were initially looking there, but I have to say, if Messianic Judaism is being practiced/taught in that community, that is not what I am looking for. Don't misunderstand- I am not against intermarriage or interfaith families in any way (having intermarried twice myself lol) but I do believe in tradtional Judaism & believe it would be confusing for my kids.
Also, the language is gong to be a challenge for us, as the kids and I are not (yet) Spanish speakers, though my son & I could probably get by in Hebrew. My daughter is not quite that advanced in her studies. I wonder if there are any English speaking tutors who are available in the capital to teach Hebrew/religious ed?
Thanks again to all.
 

Bryanell

Bronze
Aug 9, 2005
671
67
48
I appreciate very much all the information. I am quite glad to have stumbled on this board for the kind of first-hand practical information that you all seem to be able to provide. I will have many more questions (on a variety of topics, I am sure!). The issue of Judaism is a primary one, though, in that it will be a motivating factor in where we settle. I realize I will not have as many options as I do here in the States; I am a reform Jew, and though not ultra-observant, I do want to continue my children's religious education and their very strong Jewish identity. Knowing the history of Sosua, we were initially looking there, but I have to say, if Messianic Judaism is being practiced/taught in that community, that is not what I am looking for. Don't misunderstand- I am not against intermarriage or interfaith families in any way (having intermarried twice myself lol) but I do believe in tradtional Judaism & believe it would be confusing for my kids.
Also, the language is gong to be a challenge for us, as the kids and I are not (yet) Spanish speakers, though my son & I could probably get by in Hebrew. My daughter is not quite that advanced in her studies. I wonder if there are any English speaking tutors who are available in the capital to teach Hebrew/religious ed?
Thanks again to all.
I have just sent you a Private Message (PM) about points you have raised, please feel free to contact me,
Bryan.
 

J D Sauser

Silver
Nov 20, 2004
2,929
357
83
www.hispanosuizainvest.com
I remember the first time I came to this island, about 3 years ago, and started exploring. I did not know about the history of Sosua. So I stepped down of a guagua de concho from Puerto Plata in front of the Playero super market and crossed over the road (Texaco) to find myself observing two men wearing a kippah. I thought that was surprising and moved on walking into the night club area of El Batey and surprised myself again by running into two more men who evidently were Jewish. So, I called my 2nd grade cousin in Germany, who also speaks Yiddish and Hebrew and knows it all and asked him if he knew any thing about a Jewish convention or something of the kind going down in a small town on the North Coast of the Dominican Republic :D . He laughed himself dizzy and asked me if I was in a town called Sosua... I said that yes and wondered how he'd guessed... but then he explained. Sometimes it's incredible what all one does not know.
However, I must say that since I came to stay here only two years later, I have never again seen ANYBODY on the streets of Sosua wearing a kippah.

... J-D.
 

PICHARDO

One Dominican at a time, please!
May 15, 2003
12,321
266
83
Santiago de Los 30 Caballeros
I remember the first time I came to this island, about 3 years ago, and started exploring. I did not know about the history of Sosua. So I stepped down of a guagua de concho from Puerto Plata in front of the Playero super market and crossed over the road (Texaco) to find myself observing two men wearing a kippah. I thought that was surprising and moved on walking into the night club area of El Batey and surprised myself again by running into two more men who evidently were Jewish. So, I called my 2nd grade cousin in Germany, who also speaks Yiddish and Hebrew and knows it all and asked him if he knew any thing about a Jewish convention or something of the kind going down in a small town on the North Coast of the Dominican Republic :D . He laughed himself dizzy and asked me if I was in a town called Sosua... I said that yes and wondered how he'd guessed... but then he explained. Sometimes it's incredible what all one does not know.
However, I must say that since I came to stay here only two years later, I have never again seen ANYBODY on the streets of Sosua wearing a kippah.

... J-D.
If you want to spot Jews in the DR just look for mezuzot while you stroll by the houses, you'll be amaze to spot many some places!!! That's how many get to know each other here rather than walk around with kippot.

BTW: Also in many biz you can spot them too! keep an eye out for them!
 

Tamborista

hasta la tambora
Apr 4, 2005
11,366
920
113
Where can you buy lox in this country?
I already tried the ferreteria, and they were out.

tambo'