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About Barbados Synagogue Restoration Project (BSRP)

The Barbados Synagogue Restoration Project (BSRP) Collection contains records related to the activities and functions of BSRP, a charity established in 1984 in Bridgetown, Barbados. These records have been processed and digitized, and partially put online. To fully understand the collection, please see its finding aid.

Since its establishment, BSRP has spearheaded a number of projects as follows: a) It has restored the historic synagogue building (1984-1987), b) it has cleaned and performed conservation work on the historic cemetery (1999-2003), c) it has established the Nidhe Israel Museum school (2004-2008), and d) it has unearthed and restored the Jewish ritual bath, or 'mikveh' (2009). In late 2015, BSRP was reincorporated as Synagogue 1654 Management Inc. In December 2015, Synagogue 1654 Management Inc. started a new phase of works, the Synagogue Block Redevelopment project.

The four sub-collections reflect BSRP’s activities in this respect. The records in this collection cover the period from mid-1980s to today. The collection consists of administrative and financial papers, correspondence, reports, architectural drawings, newspaper clippings, and rich photographic material.

Beyond documenting all the steps of BSRP’s activities, the collection provides valuable information on the political and socio-economic life in Barbados, as well as the Jewish community of the island. Additionally, it sheds light to BSRP’s involvement with various international organizations and entities. The records paint a lively picture of the scene of major international and national Jewish organizations and associations, and personalities therein, during the 1980s and 1990s. Thus the collection is an invaluable resource for researchers who study the Jewish communities of the Atlantic world.

Furthermore, excavations conducted in the synagogue complex and other works during the redevelopment of the historic district have also yielded rich archaeological data and material culture vestiges that shed light to Bridgetown’s urban past, as well as the presence and history of the people—Jews, Quakers, Anglicans, enslaved people—who inhabited or worked at the synagogue complex and its surrounding area. Future research, scholarship, and public history projects and initiatives combining archival material, archaeological data, and material culture objects will yield a better understanding of life and history in the synagogue historic district. 

If you would like to enrich this collection, by contributing pertinent records or information on any aspect, please contact us.