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Central America

  • Panama’s Grand Rabbi, Zion Levy, Dies

    Panama’s long-time Grand Rabbi Zion Levy died in Israel at the age of 83. Levy’s death last week ended his 57 years as head of the thriving Orthodox Jewish community in Panama, the Israeli embassy in Panama reported. Levy was a respected and towering figure in the country, believed to be longest-serving leader in the… More ▸

  • El Salvador Seeks Recognition for Little-known Nazi-era Rescue

    El Salvador is home to only 120 Jews, but this small Central American nation of 7 million has long portrayed itself as a solid friend of Israel and the Jewish people. For years, the Salvadoran government has condemned anti-Zionist resolutions at the United Nations, and until August 2006 it was one of only two countries… More ▸

  • Nicaragua’s Tiny Community Splits over Who is a Jew

    Bitter divisions over who is a Jew threaten to split Nicaragua’s tiny Jewish community. At an April 30 assembly to elect a new board of directors, relations between the 50 Jews in the country deteriorated after two people whom some consider non-Jews were elected to the board. The assembly decided to allow anyone who "feels… More ▸

  • For Jewish Teens, Building Houses in Nicaragua Offers Sense of Purpose

    ? Aching from lugging cinder blocks and not having seen a flush toilet in days, the Jewish teenagers from posh New York City suburbs could have been forgiven for complaining about building simple houses in this rural Nicaraguan outpost. But the only complaints they offered were about their own upper-middle-class lifestyles back home and the… More ▸

  • Around the Jewish World Sandinista Leader Ortega Returns to Power, Worrying Nicaragua’s Jews

    The return of Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega after his victory in Nicaragua’s presidential election has the country’s tiny Jewish community on edge. During Ortega’s last stint in power, as head of the left-wing revolutionary government from 1979-90, the entire Jewish community fled into exile while the Sandinistas built cozy relations with the PLO and other… More ▸

  • And then There Were None: Embassy of El Salvador Also Moved to Tel Aviv

    El Salvador will move its embassy in Israel to Tel Aviv, a diplomatic setback that leaves Israel’s capital without any embassies. In a written statement late last Friday, El Salvador’s government said the move was aimed at helping the Middle East peace process. The statement went on to offer El Salvadoran "recognition of the right… More ▸

  • Around the Jewish World Costa Rica’s Jews Upset by Timing of Embassy Move

    Costa Rica’s Jewish community reacted with disappointment, resignation and a bit of anger to the government’s decision to move its embassy in Israel out of Jerusalem. Costa Rican Jews had been prepared for the announcement, made last week by President Oscar Arias. However, they were upset by its timing, less than 72 hours after a… More ▸