COMMENTARY: Wanted: A distinctly Jamaican Judaism

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Left, Dana Evan Kaplan is the rabbi of Shaare Shalom Synagogue in Kingston, Jamaica, and teaches Judaism at the United Theological College of the University of the West Indies. Kaplan is pictured here at the University of Technology Interfaith Fair with Carl Estick, who has been a member of the synagogue for many many years. Photo courtesy Dana Evan Kaplan

Left, Dana Evan Kaplan is the rabbi of Shaare Shalom Synagogue in Kingston, Jamaica, and teaches Judaism at the United Theological College of the University of the West Indies. Kaplan is pictured here at the University of Technology Interfaith Fair with Carl Estick, who has been a member of the synagogue for many many years. Photo courtesy Dana Evan Kaplan

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (RNS) Since becoming the first ordained rabbi in Jamaica in more than three decades, I have been trying to develop a plan to build a Jewish future in Kingston and throughout the country.

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  • Openear

    Can a distinctly Jamaican Judaism be truly Jamaican if imposed by an outsider who has not truly taken the time to listen, learn and understand the community and its heritage, has completely disdained and disregarded existing traditions, and if it is not cultivated from within but forced from without? An outsider who demeans, belittles and arrogantly deigns to know better and always be right is perhaps not the ideal person to guide the community in its evolution and will meet with resistance at every turn.