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Panama’s Jewish Colony is Meeting Place for Jews from Many Different Countries

January 28, 1934
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

There is room in Panama for a number of Jewish immigrants, although the immigration possibilities here are not unlimited.

The general economic status of the Jews who live in Panama is good. The Jewish colony is not very large, being concentrated in three poins-Panama City, Colon and David en Chiriqui. In Panama City, the capital of the republic, there are several hundred Jews. Most of them came from Syria, Palestine and Aleppo. Their mother tongue is Arabic, although a number of them know Hebrew.

There are also in Panama City a few Jews from Jamaica and Curacao. Most of them are engaged in commerce, many having their own factories. Others devote themselves to European, North American and Japanese importing, virtually all of which is in Jewish hands.

The Jews of Panama have no social organization at all, having neither a synagogue nor a ritual slaughterer. The only Jewish cemetery in the republic is in Panama City. The Jewish children speak English and Spanish.

In Colon there are few hundred Jewish families which have been very well organized. The Syrian and Palestinian Jews have their own kehilla, supporting a synagogue and a ritual slaghteret and surgeon.

Neither Panama nor Colo, however, have any istitution of Jewish learning.

The Jews from Jamaica and the United States have organized a society which supports a syngogue where men and women pray to gether according to the custom in jamaica-the cantor begins in Hebrew and ends in English, and the services are shortened considerably. In direct contrast to the Palestine-Syria Jews, who are very pious, the Jamaican Jews are not very religious.

A small number of Jews from Eastern Europe have also found their way to Colo. Most of them are peddlers, although a few have come up in world and now own bars and cabarets. The East European Jews also have their own organization, called the “Culture Center.” Actually, however, the organization is much less concerned with problems of culture than it is with questions of self-help and immigrant aid.

The principal occupations of the Jews living in Colon are very much like those of the Jews in Panama City. Many hold posts in the Canal Zone, functioning as doctors, inspectors, and tool-officials.

In David there are a small number of Palestinian Jews who are retail merchants and small scale manufacturers.

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