The St.Thomas Synagogue

 

At the top of the street, away from busy touristy Main street, one can  find a place of serenity and calm.  The St.Thomas Synagogue is the second-oldest Synagogue in the West, which was found by settlers back in 17th century.DSCN3149 DSCN3133

Most of the founders were descendants of Spanish Jews who fled Spain to avoid persecution of the Inquisition. The chandelier was  brought from Europe and assumed to be Dutch, menorah dates back to 11th century, Spain.  The wood inside is mahogany. DSCN3139 DSCN3148 The most interesting part is the floor of the Synagogue-it is sand.  There are two theories on the reason why. DSCN3137  One opinion suggests that it represents the journey Jewish people made through the desert.  The other one goes back to Inquisition, when Jews had to pretend to be Christians, but kept their Jewish roots and continued practicing Judaism in the basements of their houses and sand covered the floors to muffle the sounds of prayers.  It seems that the congregation is less conservative or traditional because the sitting benches are on both sides of the room and men and women sit together oppose to the traditional setting when then sit separately.    DSCN3136 DSCN3135

 

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