Several Jewish settlements have recently been established in Guatemala and Panama, Central America, according to letters received in the New York office of the Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society (Hias) from its representatives abroad.
Guatemala City, the capital of the Republic of Guatemala in Central America, it is learned, now has approximately 100 Ashkenazic Jews who hail from Russia, Poland and other Eastern European countries. These did not, however, immigrate to Guatemala City directly from their native countries, but came from Cuba, Mexico and other contiguous lands Consequently 95% of these settlers speak Spanish.There are also in Guatemala City a number of German Jews who originally came from the Province of Posen in the year 1848. These Jews have a society known as the “Israelitische Schutzverein” and own a cemetery. There are also Sephardic Jews who are organized under the name of the “Mogen David.”
The Ashkenazic Jews, that is those who come from Eastern Europe, are engaged in peddling, but some are tailors, shoemakers and similar craftsmen Nearly all of them earn a good livelihood. They are now endeavoring to obtain the services of a teacher for their children, Jewish books, newspapers, etc., with a view to developing their cultural and social life.
In the City of Panama, Republic of Panama, there are about 100 Ashkenazic Jews, who engage in commerce, peddling, as well as manual labor. In Colon there are about six Ashkenazic families and about sixty Sephardic families, the majority of whom are from Jerusalem. The latter have two temples, one for those coming from Jerusalem and the other for those hailing from Portugal. There is a Sunday School, led by the Rabbi of the Jewish Welfare Board, and the children of the Ashkenazic Jews are admitted to the classes.