It has often be said that the only reason Jews survived was due to oppression. The hypothesis is that it was oppression that forced Jewish communities to stay together and maintain their identity.
No Jewish community was as un-oppressed as that in KaKa.
The first Jews arrived in 1494 with Columbus. Appreciating the benefit of settlement, these Conversos, persons who pretended to convert to Christianity, lived comfortably on the island. They secretly practiced their religion until 1655 when England invaded.
The Jews, who had assisted the various Pirates and Privateers, had won the favour of Oliver Cromwell, so no longer needed to hide their religion. Synagogues were erected and the community could live as themselves.
Over the centuries many left the faith and even more married outside the religion, claiming to be Jews but living as Christians.
Today, most of the so-called Jews of Kaka have very little Jewish blood. Their great grandparents might have been Jews, but their grandparents married Christians, their parents lived partially as Christians if not fully, and they, deep in their fifties, are married to Christians. They attend the synagogue, with their pretend version of Judaism.
Their children, in their thirties, know little or nothing of the religion, and couldn’t care less.
As the congregation is rich, as the members are no longer wealthy, they tend to plunder the treasury. Being the least of their families, they have no head for business, no knowledge of life.
The membership of Beth Shalom is made up of the family failures. The successful left Kaka when it took Independence, fleeing to America, Canada, England. Their semi-useless relatives were left to bankrupt the businesses they had owned.
One of the remarkable things about the Jews of Kaka is that many Jews had monopolies, whether over building materials, vehicles, electronic goods, etc. As soon as there was competition, the Jewish company failed.
This is because having been raised in wealthy homes, the fifty year old ‘infant’ is unable to take care of him/herself, unable to comprehend basic business practices, so survives by selling the business, selling land, and squandering the money.
Shirl, for example, who now sits in what had been the Hippos Wallow, may have been born in a rich home. May have grown as the spoiled darling of parents who made no money and spent what was there, so that today, she has nothing. No house, no car, and no sense.
The congregation is small, getting smaller, and the converts equal the so-called born Jews; the sons and daughters of a Christian and a Jew. Usually a Christian mother.
These ‘Jews’ know nothing, they want to know nothing, and they use the shul as a stage, to recapture the days when they, as children of the wealthy, paraded in their finery.
Chabad sits on the North Coast, making light incursions, knowing that in less than forty years, they will own the synagogue. For there will be no other Jews in Kaka.