Museo Judio Sosua
At the Y in Washington Heights, Jewish kids and Dominican kids came together to stage a musical production about Sosua. A lot has been written about Sosua lately, many books and articles written about the small town in the Dominican Republic where Jews fleeing the Holocaust settled in 1938. Many of these Jews eventually left the Dominican Republic for America but not before creating a kosher cheese factory and a synagogue, and even a museum.
The evil dictator, Rafael Trujillo
, ruling the Dominican Republic with an iron fist at that time in history, offered to let thousands of Jews settle in DR. Prior to making this offer, he slaughtered thousands of Haitians. The two stories about why Trujillo opened the doors to his country to Jews are very different. One says that Trujillo invited the Jews so they would intermingle with Dominicans and “whiten the race.” Another story claims that when his daughter studied in America, she experienced a lot of racism but bonded with a Jewish woman.
There have been Jews in the Dominican Republic since 1942, when conversos came to the Caribbean with Christopher Columbus. To this day, there is a small community in Santo Domingo, which includes not just one synagogue but also a Chabad rabbi who now slaughters kosher meat there and who recently made news for hopping over from Santo Domingo to Haiti to help in the aid efforts.
To watch a clip of the students working together on the “Sosua” production, click here
. (You need QuickTime
to view this video.)
“The Dominican Republic’s Haven for Jewish Refugees” (Article)
“Dominican Haven:The Jewish Refugee Settlement in Sosua, 1940-1945” (Book)
“Sosua: On Being Jewish” (article)