Saturday, November 22, 2008

Jamaica: Jewish cemetery expedition, March 2009

In March 2009, Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions will continue its historic Jewish cemetery inventory in the Kingston, Jamaica area, surveying two smaller historic cemeteries and checking the work done last year at Jamaica's oldest Jewish cemetery, Hunt's Bay.

Hunt's Bay (below) includes 17th-19th century gravestones.

The 2009 project - March 22-28 - is again at the request of United Congregation of Israelites Shaare Shalom Synagogue of Jamaica. New York City architect and New World Jewish historic sites authority Rachel Frankel will lead fieldwork.

Here's a Kohen burial with two hands in the distinctive pattern indicating the deceased's priestly status:

Here's the grave of merchant Avraham Baruh Alvares:

And here's the skull and crossbones on a Jewish pirate's grave:

As early as 1530, Jews fleeing European persecution settled in Jamaica where they played important roles in business, trade and the sugar industry.

Volunteers will inventory, photograph, and map the Orange and Elliston sites and check work begun at Hunt's Bay last year.

Lodging is at the Alhambra Inn (about $90/night doubles). For more information about the program and costs, send an email to Anne Hersh here or here. Click here for the website.

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