On the island of Rhodes, a community that existed in the old town for 2,300 years was nearly wiped out in a single day: July 23, 1944.
More than a century and a half has passed since the gold rush created the booming Australian city of Ballarat, 70 miles inland from Melbourne. The gold is long gone, but the worshippers who sit shoulder to shoulder in the pews of Shearith Yisroel seem determined to live up to their synagogue’s name: “Remnant of Israel.”
Four large and heavy commemorative bronze plaques wait in storage at the Praia airport in Cape Verde, an archipelago of ten tiny islands 300 miles off the coast of Senegal in West Africa.
It’s hard to imagine that at one time, this tiny island, so far from the cobblestone streets of Portugal, the canals of Amsterdam and the shtetls of Eastern Europe, had the largest Jewish population in the Americas.