the time of the Spanish conquest there are Jews in the
American continent. The first ones were forced converts to
Christianity who sometimes kept their Judaism in secret. The first
openly known Jews in Venezuela lived in Tucacas, who in the
eighteenth century traded in that Dutch-controlled port in the
state of Falcon. Some time later the Spanish conquered Tucacas,
and the Jewish community, along with the general population, fled.
After the independence of Venezuela, some Sephardic Jews came from
Curacao to the city of Coro, where their cemetery has been in use
for 150 years continuously.
the community in Coro started shrinking, the community in the
capital city of Caracas started to flourish. Many Jews came mainly
from northern Morocco and Eastern Europe, while others came from
Central Europe, Israel and Syria. Some Jews came from neighboring
Colombia, Cuba and Argentina.
50 years ago the first synagogue in Caracas was erected, in the
neighborhood of El Conde, and from then around ten Sephardic and
Ashkenazi synagogues were built, in the neighborhoods of San
Bernardino and La Florida to the west, and Altamira, Los Palos
Grandes and Los Dos Caminos.
These days there are 4 mikvaoth, three Jewish schools, 4
cemeteries, a few kosher establishments and two kollells in
Caracas, a synagogue, Jewish school and cemetery in the city of
Maracaibo, and synagogues in the cities of Porlamar, San Cristobal
and Valencia. There are some 10.000 Jews residing in Venezuela
the Jews who came to Venezuela came from Torah-observant homes,
but some years ago it was already hard to find a
religiously-observant family. In the aprox. last 10 years many
people, young and old alike, started going back to their roots,
returning to their Judaism. In some neighborhoods it a common
sight that people go around their activities with a kippah on
their heads, the Shabbath is observed in many homes, and people
are keeping the laws of kashruth.