Cover

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Copyright, Series Page

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Title Page

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Contents

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xii

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Invitation: Why St. Thomas?

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pp. xiii-xviii

A tour group, huffing and puffing after negotiating a steep hill, appears before the synagogue gate. The visitors’ eyes widen, acclimating to a large stone edifice with white plaster columns, pointed-arch windows, and...

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Introduction: On Writing a Synagogue Narrative

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pp. xix-xxix

In 1953, the pioneering American Jewish historian Jacob Rader Marcus published a pamphlet entitled How to Write the History of an American Jewish Community. Marcus noted in his preface to the work that America’s Jews, buoyed by their country’s rise to superpower status after World War II, were...

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1. Gathering

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pp. 1-17

The island of St. Thomas is a small, mountainous, twenty-eight square mile land mass located just off the eastern coast of Puerto Rico. It is the second-largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands in terms of area: about a...

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2. Growth: 1796-1831

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pp. 19-42

The end of the eighteenth century produced a great boom in the St. Thomas economy. Starting in 1792, the spare, small city of Charlotte Amalie began to fill considerably, and expanded its borders along the...

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3. Rebuilding: 1831–1833

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pp. 43-50

After the fire, St. Thomas experienced several weeks of hardship. Water, depleted from several area cisterns to fight the fire, again became a precious commodity. With so many houses burnt to the ground, shelter was rare and came at a premium. The smell of smoke no doubt also...

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4. A Battle of Reforms: 1833–1848

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pp. 51-86

The 1830s saw a dramatic divergence of fortune for the two major industries of the Danish West Indies. Sugar production, once a thriving and profitable business, became increasingly unfeasible. Although...

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5. Development: 1848–1867

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pp. 87-111

On July 2 to 3, 1848, eight thousand slaves converged on Frederiksted, a tiny but influential port city on the western end of St. Croix. Having successfully organized a bloodless uprising, the slaves demanded immediate emancipation from the Danish government. Governor General Peter...

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6. The Hebrew Reformed Congregation: 1867-1875

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pp. 112-141

The fourteen men who defected from the St. Thomas Hebrew Congregation on March 14, 1867, averaged just over thirty-one years of age.1 Emanuel Correa Osorio was the youngest at age twenty-five, a soon-to- be store proprietor who was less than a year away from marriage. Jacob...

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7. Changing of the Guard: 1875–1914

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pp. 142-163

With its days of booming trade and relentless growth over, the island of St. Thomas began to lose its gleam as a colonial jewel of the Danish crown. Throttled by the catastrophes of 1867, threatened by new shipping and communications technologies, and troubled by labor issues left...

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8. Struggle: 1914 –1946

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pp. 164-194

On August 15, 1914, the completed Panama Canal finally opened its locks to the world. For St. Thomas, this opening ended forty-four years of anticipation and breath-holding. From Ferdinand de Lesseps’s announcement to build the canal in 1870, the St. Thomas shipping community...

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9. A Revival from America: 1946–1967

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pp. 195-220

In 1946, Pan American World Airways flew its first direct flights between New York and San Juan, Puerto Rico. The new route, in the wake of celebratory victories in World War II the previous year, marked...

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Epilogue: Sifting through the Sands of Time

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pp. 221-226

In the summer of 1975, my parents decided to go on an adventure. My father, after years of teaching in the Boston area, wanted to join the National Forestry Service; but the agency had placed a freeze on hiring, requiring him to look elsewhere for employment. It was in this spirit that...

Notes

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p. 227

Bibliography

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pp. 273-286

Index

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pp. 287-298