This month is the Hebrew Month of Elul, a time of deep reflection and prayer for the Jewish people. The month ends with the beginning of their new year, Rosh Hashanah, which takes place this year Sunday evening, October 2nd, 2016. Jews will begin the year of 5777.
A week later, on October 11th, 2016, they will celebrate Yom Kippur, our Day of Atonement. Jews around the world, and in St. Thomas, of course, will gather in synagogues that evening and the next day to confess their sins, ask for forgiveness, and make an attempt to begin their year the right way.
They fast on Yom Kippur so that they can focus on their prayer, and on their inner reflection. It is an emotionally draining day, and a powerful day of self-study.
The Hebrew Congregation of St. Thomas is a member of the Union for Reform Judaism, but their synagogue still gives homage to their historic, Sephardic roots. In addition to the sand on the floor, their mahogany pews face one another, rather than the Bimah (a raised platform in a synagogue from which the Torah is read).
You're invited to visit their synagogue, in person or online, whether to worship or explore, and see how the rich Jewish history of St. Thomas lives on.
Visit them on their website: http://synagogue.vi/ or on theirFacebook page: www.facebook.com/synagoguevi/
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