Years Since First Jew Landed in New York
Shelomo Alfassa - August 22, 2004 / 5 Elul 5764
published in Israel National News
22, 2004, marks the 350th anniversary of the first Jewish immigrant
to arrive in the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, what is today New
York City in the United States.
the Dutch colony of Recife, Brazil on July 8, 1654, Jacob Barsimon,
a Sephardic Jew, became the first of many Jews who would organize
what would later become the first Jewish community in the United States.
Barsimon was employed by the Dutch East India Company, which was a
trading and colonizing company for the Dutch.
In January of
1654, Holland lost Brazil to the Portuguese navy, leaving the Jews
to once again uproot and find a new home. At the time, the Inquisition
in Mexico, Peru, Portugal, Spain and other countries was furiously
pursuing Jews; trials, resulting in burnings at the stake, were a
frequent occurrence. Barsimon, twenty-three Jews who came the following
month, and more who came the following year, started the first Jewish
congregation known as Shearith Israel (Remnant of Israel), a congregation
which is still in existence today.
Society for Sephardic Progress, a Sephardic Jewish advocacy agency
in the United States, called Jacob Barsimon "a man who risked
his life traversing many countries in treacherous times because he
refused to give up his religion."