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November 26, 1993 - Image 70

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-11-26

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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tending an invitation to Jew-
ish organizations to hold their
1995-96 conventions or board
meetings in St. Thomas dur-
ing the bicentennial celebra-
tion.
Of course, visitors are wel-
come to visit the Hebrew Con-
gregation of St. Thomas
sooner than 1995. In high
season or low, the sanctuary
is open to tourists.
Soft sand covers the floor
and an 18-branch candelabra
hangs suspended from the
ceiling. Behind the central
bimah is a menorah from
Granada, Spain, dating back
to 1150. There are carved
pineapples on the polished
mahogany pews.
"The pineapple is native to
the island and a sign of hos-
pitality. Sailors' wives would
put out pineapples when
their husbands returned, so
when the pews were designed
in 1833, they used the
pineapple symbol," explains
Rabbi Boxman.
As we stand in the hushed
quiet of the sanctuary, the
rabbi points out the two
Torah scrolls with rare silver
handles, and the rare scroll
rescued from the Holocaust.

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Soft sand covers
the floor and an
18-branch
candelabra hangs
suspended from
the ceiling.

It dates from 1771, is origi-
nally from a small town in
Czechoslovakia, and it's on
permanent loan to the con-
gregation.
"Imagine where this scroll
has been in 200 years," says
the rabbi. "It started out in a
town outside of Prague, and
now it's in paradise!"
So is the energetic rabbi
who has found both pleasures
and challenge in this island
paradise. He and his congre-
gation are eagerly embracing
their big challenge: the bi-
centennial celebration.
Though September 1995
might seem a long way off,
he's already extending a
sweeping invitation.
"Because our synagogue is
prominent in the history of
Western Jewish civilization,
this is a celebration for all
Jews in the Western Hemi-
sphere," he says. "We want to
attract people from every-
where to come and celebrate
with us." El

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