July 2, 2014
Next Monday, July 7th, tune-in for a Google Hangout session with Marina da Costa, and learn about the Jewish history of Suriname! Click here for the event page.
Marina da Costa is a Surinamese Jewish woman who gives historic tours of Jewish Suriname, in particular Jodensavanne, the 17th-century Jewish plantation settlement outside of Paramaribo. Marina is also an avid researcher of her own family’s fascinating story, which spans Jewish history from the Portuguese Inquisition to leadership positions in the Jewish community of Suriname, through life in New Amsterdam under Peter Stuyvesant, and even through the Holocaust.
Currently, Marina is working on a 375th anniversary celebration of the Surinamese Jewish community, scheduled for October 2014 (see the event’s website: jewsinsuriname.com). The event will unveil a monument to the 108 Surinamese Jews who died in Europe during World War II, and will include music concerts to bring together people from the various ethnic groups in Suriname — Maroons (descendants of slaves), Creoles, Chinese, Indonesians, Indians, and of course, Jews.
Kulanu members are delighted to be hosting Marina da Costa while she is in New York this month, and to introduce her to the Kulanu community through this online “hangout” on July 7th.
Click here to RSVP for the Google Hangout!
Marina da Costa is a descendant of the famous Uriel da Costa, and the daughter of a Dutch Jewish father and a Christian mother. Her father fought in the resistance movement during World War II and lost his sister, brother-in-law, and their two children in Auschwitz. Marina converted several years ago. Her family can trace their roots to four Portuguese Jewish brothers: Abraham, Uriel, Joseph and Mordecai, who, with their mother, left Portugal after living as New Christians — Jews forcibly converted to Catholicism by the Portuguese King, Manuel I, in 1497, five years after the start of the Spanish Inquisition. Many Portuguese Jews publicly practiced Catholicism but continued to live as conversos, or secret Jews, and fled, like the da Costas, when they could (other conversos became true Catholics); the da Costas made their way to Amsterdam in 1614 in order to live openly as Jews.
This summer, 55 members of the da Costa family had an educational reunion in Amsterdam, organized by Marina and another, distant relative. Learn more about Marina, the da Costa family and their reunion in this article from the Jewish Daily Forward, and read about the Jewish community of Suriname on the Kulanu web site at kulanu.org/suriname — then join the conversation with “all of us” on July 7!
This hangout session will give you the opportunity to interact with and learn from an enthusiastic Surinamese Jew who has a lot to share about this unique Jewish community of the former Dutch colony. See you then!