Question: Who was the first person to serve as a rabbi in the Western Hemisphere?
Answer: Rabbi Isaac Aboab da Fonseco of Amsterdam. He became rabbi of the Jewish community in the city of Recife in what was then Dutch Brazil in 1642. During that decade the Jewish population in the area equaled approximately one thousand people. It would take more than another century for North American Jewry to grow to that size. See: Haven and Home : A History of the Jews in America by Abraham J. Karp, p.5 [New York : Schocken Books, 1985].