A 400-Year-Old Jewish Ritual Bath in Barbados


When most people talk about getting wet in the Caribbean, they don’t mean it like this.

Amazingly, the oldest mikveh–or Jewish ritual bath–in the Americas isn’t in New York City or Plymouth, MA, but on the Caribbean island of Barbados.

Built in 1654 by Sephardic immigrants, this baño (the Judeo-Spanish word for “mikveh”) was unearthed in 2008 by an archaeologist who was digging for remnants of a rabbi’s house.

Though it’s not currently in use–the Barbados mikveh is in surprisingly good condition, and still connected to a natural spring. It’s always cool to find Jewish history in a place where you wouldn’t expect it.

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