03 August 2008

Jewish Travel to Martinique

Over the weekend, I saw that the Jewish Week had published an article entitled "From Chabad to Rum" and figured I would post on Jewish travel to Martinique, having gone there a few weeks ago. The one problem, however, is that, as opposed to Guadeloupe, when we stayed near the synagogue there for shabbas, we didn't access that information in time to stay near the synagogue for shabbas (ending up staying in Trois-Îlets our whole time there). However, that doesn't stop me from having information on the topic. Anyways, if you are interested in traveling to Martinique, here is some information written a few years ago by Professor William F. S. Miles:
In 1976 the Association Cultuelle (sic) Israélite de la Martinique (Hebrew Worship Center of Martinique, ACIM) was officially formed and registered with the prefecture. Until 1979 a building in Terres-Sainville was used as a synagogue, replaced by one in Plateau Fofo in Schoelcher. For high holidays and sacramental occasions, such as weddings, bar mitzvahs, and burials, a rabbi would be brought in from Caracas. Kosher meat was also imported from Venezuela.1
Miles continues
In February 1996 a major step in the apparent anchoring of the community was taken with the inauguration of a new synagogue, Kenaf Aaretz, meaning wing or ends of the earth, in Anse Gouraud, Schoelcher. ... The Kenaf Aaretz Community Center runs religious school classes, maintains a mikva, or ritual bath, sells kosher meats and wines, publishes a monthly newsletter, and employs a full-time rabbi.2
As far as getting to the synagogue, Kenaf Aaretz, it is "on the main northbound road to St. Pierre, on the right hand side of the road" although the easiest way to get there "is to get dropped off/get directions to the Restaurant de l'École Hotelière. If you follow that (short and narrow) street downslope to the end (towards that same main northbound road to St. Pierre), you turn right at the end and you are in the parking lot of the synagogue."3

Regarding the size of the Jewish community there, as of a few years ago,
There are approximately 450 Jews in Martinique today, representing 190 households. Approximately 280 of the adults are official members of the ACIM. The vast majority are Sephardim from North Africa, particularly Algeria....4
In addition to the synagogue, "there is a new kosher restaurant, I am told, on the top level of the 'Rond Point' commercial center, located on the same road I indicated previously, except on the left hand side, heading towards Schoelcher from Fort-de-France."
I realize that I haven't yet posted any honeymoon posts yet on our time in Martinique, but I hope to.
1 - William F. S. Miles, "Caribbean Hybridity and the Jews of Martinique", in The Jewish Diaspora in Latin America and the Caribbean: Fragments of Memory, ed. Kristin Ruggiero (Brighton, UK & Portland, OR: Sussex Academic Press, 2005), 145.
2 - Ibid.
3 - Idem., "Martinique Synagogue," 10 July 2008, personal e-mail (10 July 2008).
4 - Idem., "Caribbean Hybridity," 147.
5 - Idem., "Re: Martinique Restaurant," 12 July 2008, personal e-mail (12 July 2008).


Kosher Vacations said...

The most dominating of the island's many beautiful mountains, with 1397 meters, is the infamous volcano Mount Pelée. The volcanic ash has created beautiful grey and black sand beaches in the north (in particular between Anse Ceron and Anse des Gallets), contrasting markedly from the white sands of Les Salines in the south.

Dani said...

Clearly you and the recent post on Yeah Thats Kosher were on the same page.

Dani said...

Drew, can you add www.yeahthatskosher.com to your blogroll?

Maybe you can write about places you've been for the site?