Dutch Jew in Suriname

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

In the 1600s, various European powers were attempting to control what later became Suriname, in northern South America. Jewish people began to arrive in Suriname (carved out of Brazil, a Portuguese colony) in the 1630s. They were of Portuguese descent, but they had roots in the Netherlands, Portugal and Italy. In 1652 a second group of Jewish people came with Lord Francis Willoughby who was trying to take this land for the British Empire. In 1664, the French sent a third group of Jewish colonists.
In 1665, the British gave special privileges to the Jewish population including freedom of religion. Jews were allowed to establish synagogues, Jewish schools and even have their own court of justice. Jews had more political autonomy in Suriname than they had until the founding of Israel in 1947. Eventually the British traded their colony in South America for New Amsterdam (now New York) in North America. The Dutch allowed for the continuation of Jewish rights in Suriname until the Dutch crown ended it in 1825.
Most of the Jewish people in Suriname were involved with sugar plantations until their work was destroyed by French pirates, depleted soil, disastrous fires and a major downturn in the sugar industry. The Jewish population went elsewhere to became merchants, storekeepers, peddlers and artisans. In 1835 they established the Neve Shalom Synagogue in Suriname's capital, Paramaribo.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Today there are almost no Jewish people in Suriname. The few who remain work in various trades and professions. They are well represented in small and middle-sized businesses, the communication and entertainment industries, medicine, law, and accounting. However, the more successful the Jewish executive in South America becomes, the greater tendency he may have to assimilate into Christian European ways.

Because of the uniqueness of their history and culture, all Jews have a strong sense of identity.
What Are Their Beliefs?

For religious Jews, God is the Supreme Being, the Creator of the universe, and the ultimate Judge of human affairs. Beyond this, the religious beliefs of the Jewish communities vary greatly. Orthodox Jews generally follow the traditional religious beliefs and practices found in the Jewish literature that interprets Scripture regarding ethical, religious, civil and criminal matters. Conservative Judaism is less traditional than Orthodox and combines different ethical, philosophical, and spiritual schools of thought. Reform Judaism is the most liberal form and interprets Jewish beliefs and practices in light of contemporary life and thought. Reform Jews do not believe that the Jewish Law is divinely revealed. They are not restricted to kosher (traditional, approved) foods, nor do they wear the skull cap (yarmulke) when praying or use Hebrew in prayer. All religious Jews believe in the coming of a Messianic Age, but only the Orthodox Jew looks for a personal Messiah.

What Are Their Needs?

The Jews have a wonderful understanding of their connection with the Abrahamic covenant. However, they also have a history of rejecting Jesus Christ as Messiah, the one who has fulfilled that covenant. Jewish people need to understand Jesus as the fulfillment of what God promised humanity through Abraham centuries ago.
Unfortunately, "Jewishness" is often defined in secular terms such as the use of Yiddish words and traditions, rather than looking to the God of Abraham for all their needs. This attitude keeps Jewish people from seeking and finding spiritual truth.

Prayer Points

Pray for Jewish people to have a hunger for truth and righteousness that will lead them to their Messiah.
Pray that God will grant Jewish background believers favor as they share their faith in Christ with Jewish people.
Pray for the Holy Spirit to prepare and thrust out Christ's ambassadors to the Jewish communities.
Pray for a movement to Christ among each Jewish community.

Scripture Prayers for the Jew, Dutch in Suriname.



Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Jew, Dutch
People Name in Country Jew, Dutch
Natural Name Dutch Jew
Pronunciation dutch joo
Alternate Names
Population this Country 200
Population all Countries 33,000
Total Countries 4
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
GSEC 1  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
People ID 11661
ROP3 Code 102791
Country Suriname
Region America, Latin
Continent South America
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Primarily in the capital city of Paramaribo   Source:  Email
Country Suriname
Region America, Latin
Continent South America
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Primarily in the capital city of Paramaribo.   Source:  Email

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Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Religion Subdivision: Judaism
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
90.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
10.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Dutch (200 speakers)
Language Code nld   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Dutch (200 speakers)
Language Code nld   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Dutch

Primary Language:  Dutch

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1477-2003)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1480-1992)
Bible-Complete Yes  (1525-2018)
Bible-NT Audio Online
Bible-NT Text Online
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name Source
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching Global Recordings Network
Audio Recordings Online New Testament Faith Comes by Hearing
Audio Recordings Online New Testament Faith Comes by Hearing
Audio Recordings Online New Testament Faith Comes by Hearing
Audio Recordings Online New Testament Faith Comes by Hearing
Film / Video God's Story video God's Story
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Dutch Jesus Film Project
Film / Video Love letter to you from scripture Father's Love Letter
Film / Video LUMO film of Gospels Bible Media Group/LUMO
Film / Video Magdalena video Jesus Film Project
Film / Video My Last Day video, anime Jesus Film Project
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children Jesus Film Project
Film / Video World Christian Videos World Christian Videos
General Bible for Children Bible for Children
General Bible for Children Bible for Children
General Biblical answers to your questions Got Questions Ministry
General Four Spiritual Laws Campus Crusade for Christ
General Gospel resources links Scripture Earth
General Walk with the Prophets and meet the Messiah Al Massira
Mobile App Download audio Bible app as APK file Faith Comes by Hearing
Photo Source Anonymous 
Profile Source Joshua Project  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more