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A Place With No Racial Discrimination

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Home / Preface
5 - Costa Rica in Brief
6 - Map of Costa Rica
8 - Symbols of Costa Rica
9 - Introduction
12 - Getting a Bird's Eye View
14 - Why Choose Costa Rica?
18 - Costa Rica Has Many Firsts to its Name
22 - A Place That Accepts All Races
30 - The Friendliness of the Costa Ricans
33 - Ticos are Individualistic
35 - Ticos Are Different and Procrastinators
38 - Why Others Have Gone Abroad
42 - Specific Reasons for Leaving Home
45 - Culture Shock
48 - Enjoy Your Retirement by Adjusting
49 - Ways to Adjust to Your New Life
56 - Making Your Stay More Satifying
58 - Cost of Living
67 - Addresses and Directions
69 - Your Car and Driving
71 - How Not to Be Obnoxious to Locals
74 - Adjusting to the Weather and Climate
76 - Choosing the Right Climate for You
77 - City Living versus Country Living
79 - Where to Live in Costa Rica
82 - Living in Your American Style
84 - Top Quality Health Services
87 - Medical Centers in San José
89 - Dying in Costa Rica
91 - Security and Safety in Costa Rica
94 - Personal Experiences of Petty Thievery
98 - Sex and Romance
101 - Going into Business Yourself
105 - Expatriates Production Enterprises
110 - Expatriates Service Businesses
114 - The Business Environment
120 - Helpful Tips for the Newcomer
125 - National Holidays and Festivities
128 - Religion, Churches & Support Groups
131 - The Optimism and Health Link
133 - The 8 Point Formula for Anti-Aging
134 - Obtaining Insurance
136 - Early Colonial History in Brief
139 - English Language & Tico Expressions
144 - Misdemeanors That Are Now Felonies
146 - Closing Words
148 - Bibliography
149 - For More Information and Contacts
151 - Appendix
155 - Index

The Jewish and Lebanese population

There is a strong and compact Jewish community in Costa Rica. Although Jews have been coming to the country since the early 20th Century, the big influx took place in the 1930s and 1940s during the Hitler regime in Germany. Many of the oldsters were survivors of the concentration camps. A lady, who during some time occupied one of my family's rental apartments, had a number tattooed on her left arm by the Gestapo. She told me she sometimes bought lottery tickets with the last two ciphers of her tattoo. However, I never knew whether she ever won or not.

When a poor Jew arrives in the country for the first time, he's readily helped by the Jewish community and before long he's on his feet and running a small business of his own. The established ones make him loans and offer merchandise for him to resell. Many started by carrying a suitcase filled with clothing, blankets and some pots and pans.

They went into isolated rural areas where no established native salesman would go and sold on the instalment plan. Prior to their arrival in Costa Rica, sales of more expensive merchandise were handled strictly on a cash basis. Hardly anyone sold goods in weekly or monthly payments except some of the small pulperías (grocery stores). By introducing this form of easy payments, the Jews are credited with having made it possible for country farmers to furnish their homes and kitchens with appliances and other items necessary to make their life more pleasant.

That Jews in Costa Rica have contributed greatly to the development of the country is a fact. They are well integrated in the national life and are good citizens. They have their own synagogue, cemetery and social club. Many hold important positions in politics, the professions, business, banking and industry. But I still don't know of any who have gone into agriculture. Perhaps that's because farming is such a risky business especially in the tropics. The second and third generation Jews in Costa Rica are not as parsimonious as were the original arrivals. It has been noticed that frequently, when a male Jew newcomer intermarries with a girl of another faith, he's not given the same assistance and support that is normally offered to another who has not intermarried. He seems to be ostracized.

What has been said of the Jews in Costa Rica as excellent marketers can also be said of the Lebanese except that the latter have not had the reputation of being parsimonious, only thrifty. These are mostly tradesmen and merchants who own their own stores and the ones I know have all made fortunes for themselves. Their commercial aptitude seems to be genetically inherited. They profess the Catholic faith and have their own social club in San José. They too have made a very valuable contribution to the development of the country.

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