A walk through downtown Charlotte Amalie on the US Virgin Island of St. Thomas is a lesson in religious freedom like none other. Within six blocks, and often side-by-side, you will pass numerous churches, many with a rich colonial history.
One of the most interesting is the St. Thomas Synagogue.
Declared a National Historic Landmark in 1997, the synagogue whose real name is Beracha Veshalom Vegmiluth Hasidim, has a unique claim to fame. The synagogue building is the longest in continuous use now under the American flag, and also the second-oldest synagogue in the US.
The St. Thomas Synagogue has a number of remarkable features, not least of which are the mahogany benches and the magnificent – most likely Dutch – chandeliers.
But what’s truly unusual is the white Caribbean sand that covers the floor (and soon after visiting, my children.)
I wanted to share this peaceful retreat with you, Dear Reader, and thought I’d pull out some shots from my photo vault. What I didn’t count on is just how far our photography skills have come in recent years (these photos are from 2004!) So, I apologize in advance for not quite doing the St. Thomas Synagogue justice.
Trust me, it’s more beautiful and fascinating than these photos might suggest! Take a look at this video tour of the St. Thomas Synagogue to see what I mean:
Go See It!
Interested in planning a visit to the St. Thomas Synagogue? Finding it is easy.
St. Thomas Synagogue is located on “Synagogue Hill” in downtown Charlotte Amalie, just a few short blocks up from the Waterfront and Main Street. From Main Street, just walk up Raadet’s Gade (H. Stern is on that corner) to the top of the hill, turn left and the Synagogue is the second building on the right.
For all inquiries, call 340-774-4312, or write to PO Box 266, St. Thomas, USVI, 00804, and/or by e-mail at info@StThomasSynagogue.com.
Visit online at www.onepaper.com/synagogue where you can also find a number of delicious recipes, including Donald’s delicious latkes (eat ’em while they’re hot!)
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Sandra Foyt | Sandra Foyt is a storyteller, photographer, and road trip junkie. A veteran of six cross-country road trips, she drove Route 66, the Lincoln Highway, the fossil freeway, the extraterrestrial highway, and even “the loneliest road in America.” Find her on GetawayMavens.com, an award-winning destination guide to extraordinary travel in and from Northeast USA, on her portfolio site at SandraFoyt.com, and in freelance gigs on Family Travel 411, Minitime, Huffington Post, and Matador Network. Email: email@example.com, Twitter @SandraFoyt.