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During April and May of 2002, a journal of circumcisions performed by Moises Frois Ricardo, a Sephardic Jew, was displayed in an exhibit sponsored by the Museo Sefardi of Caracas, Venezuela. The original manuscript, entitled "Record of Birth and Circumcision Beginning from The 26th January 1840 corresponding to the 21st Sebat 5600, Kingston, Jamaica--M.E Ricardo," belongs to Ricardo's great grandson, Ricardo de Sola of Caracas. The author of this analysis was fortunate to receive a copy of these birth and circumcision entries, which adds to our understanding of the Jewish communities in the Caribbean region during the nineteenth century. Moises Frois Ricardo was born on September 21, 1812, to Mordechay Ricardo and Esther Frois d'Andrade on the Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao. At the age of twenty, he was still living in Curacao, where his father was a well-known and respected individual, friend to the Latin American liberator, Simon Bolivar, and an active member of the Jewish community. By the early 1840s, Moises Frois Ricardo was living in Jamaica, where he married Henriette Tavares in 1841, It is there that he started recording information for 199 religious circumcisions performed by him between 1840 and 1878, when he served as a model (circumciser) throughout the Caribbean. Ricardo's journal of circumcisions begins with entries pertaining to ceremonies performed in Jamaica, but by the end of 1843, Ricardo, his wife, and their first-born son moved to Curacao, where Ricardo continued to live for most of his life. From there, he traveled to destinations where his circumcision services were needed. Toward the end of the journal, from 1871 through 1878, there appears to have been another move, this time to Venezuela, where, by that time, most of his children were living. The journal shows a significantly reduced volume of circumcisions during this period, leading us to believe that Ricardo was semi-retired at that point. He died at the age of 67 on February 18, 1880, and is buried in Curacao. His wife died in Caracas, Venezuela, in 1905.

June 1
American Jewish Historical Society
The Gale Group, Inc., a Delaware corporation and an affiliate of Cengage Learning, Inc.

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