Oct. 2, 2004 The National Trust for Historic Preservation presented the St. Thomas Synagogue its prestigious National Preservation Honor Award in a ceremony held Sept. 30. The synagogue was one of 22 national award winners honored by the National Trust at its week-long 2004 National Preservation Conference in Louisville, Ky. See "Synagogue Earns National Award for Restoration").
In English, the Synagogue of Bracha Vshalom Ugmilut Chasadim translates to the Synagogue of Blessings and Peace and Loving Deeds. Founded in 1796, twice destroyed by fires and rebuilt in 1833, the St. Thomas Synagogue has become a community landmark. This Sephardic synagogue is the third oldest synagogue in the Western Hemisphere and the oldest in continuous use under the American flag. Through earthquakes and hurricanes, the synagogue has sheltered 170 years of worship services to the community. With the exception of the day that St. Thomas was devastated by Hurricane Marilyn, the synagogue has held a service on every Sabbath since 1833, according to a release from the National Trust.
"The restoration efforts of the St. Thomas Synagogue community are inspirational," said Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. "It is great to see a community come together to preserve such an important and beautiful historic landmark."
Co-nominees honored for the restoration of St. Thomas Synagogue were the Hebrew congregation of the St. Thomas Synagogue and St. Croix architect William A. Taylor.
The National Preservation Honor Awards are bestowed on distinguished individuals, nonprofit organizations, public agencies and corporations whose skill and determination have given new meaning to their communities through preservation of our architectural and cultural heritage.
For more information on the Trust or the St. Thomas Synagogue's award, go to the Trust's Web site, www.nationaltrust.org.
Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.
Publisher's note: Like the St. Thomas Source now? Find out how you can love us twice as much–and show your support for the islands' free and independent news voice… click here.