Family History

My father Jack Cohen was a Russian, Ashkenazi Jew who migrated to the USA as a child from Moscow around 1914-18. Like many Jews at the time, Jack was a communist committed to world revolution and the liberation of all people.


My mother Dorothy was from the Caribbean and typical of Jamaicans, her heritage was diverse. Descended from West Africans (Gambia, Nigeria and Senegal) who had been enslaved as victims of what many people call the African Holocaust (to find out more just have a look here

African Holocaust

… and here¬†


But …..along with a smattering of Scottish and English ancestry, there were also Portuguese Jews; both the enslaved and the slave masters.


Portuguese Jews have a significant history in the Caribbean and elsewhere as merchants and sailors. While now the number of practising Jews in the Caribbean is small, historically, Jews played a significant part, at certain times and in certain places, in the establishment of plantation society as experts in sugar production, financiers, as traders and plantation owners. To find out more about this history, take a look here if you want to find out more.


Unlike white Christians, particularly early on in the developmentof the Caribbean, Jewish men married African women as long as they converted to Judaisim. This was how I have Jewish heritage on both sides.


There is quite a history of Jews of colour, better documented in America than here.

Who are Jews of Color (JOC)?