Panama Jewish Records

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The first Jews to arrive in Panama were Spanish and Portuguses Conversos, who like many others were forced to practice their Judaism in secret. This only began to change in 1821 when Panama became attached to Columbia at the end of colonial rule. The first Jews to arrive were a few Sephardic families from Jamaica and Ashkenazic Jews from The Netherlands. The first Jewish Congregation, Kol Shearith Israel, was founded in 1876.
Following the completion of the Panama Canal, Jewish migration into Panama increased, however it was not until 1933 that a second Congregation was established. Jews from Syria and Israel established that congregation, Shevet Achim and built a synagogue. A third synagogue, Beth El, was established by Jews who had fled Nazi Germany.
Today, the Jewish population of Panama was less than 10,000, mostly located in Panama City. An interesting fact is that Panama is the only country other than Israel, which had 2 Jewish Presidents during the 20th Century, Max Delvalle and Eric Delvalle Maduro

Records at Family History Library

Records Online