Dr. Eli Rosenblatt joined us to deliver the first of three talks in our Emerging Scholars Lecture Series, which we co-organize with the Jewish Studies Program at Kent State University. For more information about our Emerging Scholars Lecture Series and to register for the remaining two talks, click here.
Dr. Rosenblatt will explore a Caribbean Jewish society on the northeastern coast of South America. Among the oldest continuously existing Jewish communities in the Western Hemisphere, my talk will argue that the Jews of Suriname, though distinctly situated in their tropical environment and largely unknown outside the Dutch sphere today, are the “relatives” of all American Jews. While most scholarship on race and racism in American Jewish culture has focused on the United States, this talk will focus on Surinamese Jews as they experienced events we commonly associate with America – the rise of Black Power politics, the mass migration of East European Jews to American cities, the emergence of Zionism, the Holocaust, and local antisemitism. In the context of a different American society divided by color and radically diverse in its cultural, linguistic, and religious makeup, the history of the Jews of Suriname provides us with a way of looking at American Jewish futures through the expanded lens of a lesser-known past.