Beth Israel Synagogue (Oranjestad, Aruba)

Beth Israel Synagogue is the synagogue of the Aruban Jewish community, located in Oranjestad, Aruba. Beth Israel Synagogue is an independent congregation with a liberal style similar to Reform Judaism or Conservative Judaism.

Community

The community consists mostly of Jewish immigrants that arrived in Aruba from different parts of the world, and made it their home. After 1924, a large group of Eastern European Jews, mostly from Poland, settled here, together with Jews from Holland and Sephardic families from the previously Dutch South American colony of Surinam. The community opened a Jewish center in 1942 – the Jewish Country Club – and four years later, with the arrival of some Holocaust survivors, the community was officially organized.

Today, there are about 75 members, plus 180 overseas members. Due to its small size, and the intimate, close knit nature of the community, one joint organization was formed, blending the Sephardic with the Ashkenazic traditions, respecting the common culture, and enjoying the differences.

Leadership

As of August 1, 2008 Beth Israel Synagogue engaged the services of Rabbi Dr. Mario Gurevich. Originally from Argentina, Rabbi Gurevich has served in several South American Jewish Communities and has been a university teacher as well. Due to his training as both a physician and a pilot, he has been a volunteer member of the Colombian Air Civil Patrol.

Since his arrival, Rabbi Gurevich is leading the religious services and adult education programs and is performing the life cycle events for members and visitors who wish to celebrate in Aruba their weddings, Bar or Bat Mitzvahs’, etc.