|Nidhe Israel Synagogue|
|Ecclesiastical or organizational status||Active|
The Nid?e Israel Synagogue (Hebrew: ? Bet Knesset Nide Yisrael, lit. Synagogue of the Scattered of Israel) is the only synagogue in Bridgetown, Barbados. It is one of the oldest synagogues in the Western hemisphere and a Barbados National Trust property. In 2011 the synagogue and excavated mikveh were designated as UNESCO protected properties within the World Heritage Site of Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison area.
Haim Isaac Carigal was in Barbados, perhaps acting as rabbi of the congregation, at the time of his death in 1777.
About 300 Jews from Recife, Brazil, persecuted by the Portuguese, settled in Barbados in the 1660s. Skilled in the sugar industry, they quickly introduced the sugarcane crop and passed on their skills in cultivation and production to the Barbados land owners.
With their help, Barbados went on to become one of the world's major sugar producers and one of the richest European territories in the West Indies.
From the time that the synagogue was deconsecrated in 1929, it underwent numerous changes. The women's gallery that looked down on the ark and bimah was converted into a full second floor. Arches around the windows and the original floor were replaced. The building changed ownership many times as well and the Jewish cemetery outside became a dumping site.
In 1983, the building was seized by the Barbados Government, which intended to raze the building and erect a courthouse. Two years later, it turned the building over to the Barbados National Trust, in thanks to petitioning by the local Jewish community. In 1986, the renovation process began led by Sir Paul Altman. The building was returned to use as a synagogue when the renovation was complete, though it is still owned by the National Trust.
In 2008, an American archaeologist, Michael Stoner, was excavating the former rabbi's house on the premises. As he was digging, two Israeli tourists happened by and uttered the word mikveh. After excavating for three weeks, Stoner had indeed discovered a mikveh, probably dating to the 17th century.
The Nidhe Israel Museum was also opened in 2008.