The Synagogue Historic District in Bridgetown is a heritage site encompassing over 2 acres of the capital city’s urban core that underwent comprehensive restoration between 1986 and 2017. This restoration project consisted of three separate phases of development as shown in the timeline to the left.
The development was accomplished through a public-private sector partnership between the Government of Barbados, the Barbados Jewish Community, and generous private benefactors.
This project has helped to preserve important heritage elements within a UNESCO World Heritage Site, improve significant Heritage Tourism and Faith Tourism attractions on the island, and diversify the island’s niche tourism product.
Sir Paul Altman, Chairman - Synagogue Restoration Project
Mr. Joseph Steinbok - The Tabor Foundation
Mr. Geoffrey Ramsey - The Barbados National Trust
Mr. Justin Oran - Barbados Jewish Community
Property Manager: Ms. Markelle Spooner (1-246-538-6869 or 1-246-256-0730)
Tour & Event Coordinator: Ms. Ava Robinson (1-246-436-6869 / 1-246-256-0781)
Nidhe Israel Museum: (1-246-436-6869 / 1-246-256-0781)
Barbados is the easternmost island located in the Eastern Caribbean archipelago, situated about 100 miles east of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The British established a settlement in Barbados in 1627, and managed the island as a key sugar colony for several hundred years. The island achieved independence from Britain in 1966. Tourism became popular in the 1970’s, and is now the island’s primary economic driving force.
Given the island’s deep historical roots as a major component of the trans-Atlantic sugar trade, and its fascinating history as a colony settled by British sugar traders, indentured slaves, Quakers seeking protection from religious persecution, and Jews fleeing the pogroms of Europe, among others, the Synagogue Historic District offers visitors a glimpse into this rich past.
The nation’s small size belies its significant impact in many ways, including the development of a burgeoning sugar industry and its associated by-product of rum, the creation by Barbadian Jews of new Jewish communities in North America starting in the 19th Century, the abolition of slavery in the 19th century, and the development of the Barbados Charter of Rights in the 18th century and its influence abroad.
There is an active Jewish community that still resides in Barbados today. For more information on the Barbados Jewish Community, visit jewishbarbados.org