14.06.2011 12.Siwan, 5771
Colombia's Jewish community is hundreds of years old; mix of Spanish, Portuguese, Turkish, and Ashkenazi communities.
Marrano Jews, secret Jews who were forced to convert to Catholicism or be murdered by the Inquisition, were the first Jews to settle in Colombia. The Marranos fled Spain and Portugal in the 16th and 17th centuries. It is believed that some of them settled in Northern areas of Colombia, which at the time was known as New Granada. Most of these earliest Jewish settlers assimilated into Colombian society.
Observant Jews from Jamaica and Curacao settled in Colombia in the 18th century. These Jews were not interested in assimilation, and openly practiced their faith even though it was illegal. Eventually Judaism was legalized and the Jews were allowed to openly practice Judaism and their life cycle events. The government even gave the Jewish community a plot of land to use as a cemetery. Many of the Jews who arrived during the 18th and 19th centuries were very successful in business and achieved prominent positions in Colombian society, but they were forced to abandon or hide their Jewish identity….