The Jews of Ipanema
Rio de Janeiro is known for its carnival celebrations, as well as its spectacular beaches and landscapes. Perhaps lesser known is the Jewish history of this wonderful city, which stretches back to the first arrival of the Europeans.
Not just found amongst the first European explorers to discover South America, Jews who had fled to Amsterdam during the Spanish Inquisition began arriving in Brazil during the period of Dutch Rule. They settled in the northeast of the country and founded, according to many, the first synagogue of the Americas in 1636.
Since independence, waves of immigration have led to Brazil's Jewish population becoming the 9th largest in the world. Religious freedom was established in the first constitution written in 1824. Later, in the 1930s, Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazis arrived, and still more came once WWII ended.
Throughout the city, spot the signs of a well-established, thriving Jewish community.
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