The temple, is the oldest in continuous use in the Western Hemisphere, and is one of Curaçao's most important sights that draws thousands of visitors every year. The synagogue was dedicated in 1732 by the Jewish community, which had already grown from the original 12 families who came from Amsterdam in 1651. They were later joined by Jews from Portugal and Spain fleeing persecution from the Inquisition.
White sand covers the synagogue floor for two symbolic reasons: a remembrance of the 40 years Jews spent wandering the desert, and a re-creation of the sand used by secret Jews, or conversos, to muffle sounds from their houses of worship during the Inquisition.
English and Hebrew services are held Friday at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday at 10 a.m. Men who attend should wear a jacket and tie. Yarmulkes are provided to men for services and tours.