St. Thomas Synagogue
A unique and beautiful spot for wedding ceremonies rests on the island of St. Thomas, inside the capital city of Charlotte Amalie. Here among palm trees and under the pleasant tropical sun sits Beracha Veshalom Vegemiluth Hasadim(Blessing and Peace and Acts of Piety), more commonly known to the world as the St. Thomas Synagogue. The building rises from the ground in a stately ode to the island's history, as well as a symbol for new lives and new beginnings.
As you first approach the synagogue, take notice of its unique atmosphere. Crafted from brick and stone, the structure embodies elegance, yet still possesses a distinct island feel with its friendly atmosphere and palm-tree covered property. The inside, crafted with materials such as rich mahogany, crystal lamps, and beautiful chandeliers, appears distinctly refined and European, until you spot the synagogue's most distinguishing characteristic.
A soft sand floor spreads across the building, fitting for an island paradise. The roots of this tradition remain uncertain, but perhaps date back to the attempted conversion of the Jewish people during the Spanish Inquisition. In an attempt to keep their beliefs alive, Jews secretly met in rooms with sand floors, which helped to muffle the sound of their prayers. Other interpretations include the historic Israelite journey through the desert, still embodied today by many footprints in the synagogue sand.
By choosing the St. Thomas Synagogue, you also choose a location rich with history and significant to people across the world. The structure visitors see now, built in 1833, is actually the fourth one to grace the island. The original St. Thomas synagogue, constructed in 1796, burned to the ground in 1804. It was reconstructed a few years later, then torn down for renovations in 1823 - the resulting third synagogue burned down in 1831. Today's version, built in 1833, contains all the original contents and materials dating back to that year, still in excellent condition. Currently, the St. Thomas Synagogue bears the distinction of a National Historic Landmark, but is nowhere close to retirement. It remains a very active spot for worship and events, as well as a popular destination for wedding and bar and bat mitzvahs. While historically of Orthodox affiliation, the current synagogue, led by Rabbi Stephen Fisher Moch, associates with the Reform movement.
Non-congregation members, including anyone interested in a unique wedding location, find it easy to visit the synagogue. As long as a religious ceremony or event isn't taking place, feel free to stroll in and look around. Free to enter but with donations welcome, the synagogue even features the nearby Weibel Museum for anyone who wants a closer glance at its history.
If you decide on this location for your destination wedding, a few guidelines apply. You must turn in an application signed by both the bride and groom, and you must speak with the Rabbi sometime before your wedding, either in person or over the phone. You must also turn in a deposit, fully refundable until 60 days before the wedding. The wedding typically costs $2,000, except for the last two weeks of December going into the first week of January when it costs an extra $500. If you desire a Jewish ceremony not in the synagogue, the Rabbi makes himself available for beach or resort weddings, as well.
For a meaningful wedding location in one of the most gorgeous spots in the world, consider the St. Thomas Synagogue. Complete your vows in an intimate setting, and give your guests a destination wedding to talk about long after the ceremony ends. Contact the St. Thomas Synagogue with questions or for more information:
Or write to the following address:
Hebrew Congregation of St. Thomas
Krystal Gade #16AB, Queens Quarters
PO Box 266, St. Thomas, VI 00804
St. Thomas Synagogue website: