St. Martin (AKA St. Maarten) is a Caribbean island divided in two: Half of it belongs to the French and the other to the Dutch. Although the island had a significant Jewish population back in the early/mid 1700s, the island has not had a permanent Jewish community since the last synagogue was abandoned in 1781. That all changed about 3 years ago, when Chabad arrived in town.
“Building with bricks takes more work and commitment” said Rabbi Moshe Chanowitz at the opening of the island’s first synagogue in 230 years. “This synagogue,” he added, “was built on the work of many people. The fruits of their labour have now provided a place for every Jew to worship.”
Rabbi Moshe and Rebbetzin Sara Chanowitz do their outreach work with the Jewish locals, as well as the many tourists who come by for vacation.
This past week, Rabbi Yossi Srugo, a mohel from Miami, flew out to the Caribbean island to perform a bris on the newly born son of a local Jewish couple.
The bris was an inspiring ceremony for everyone present, and for anyone who heard a about it. The Mohel explained the idea of “Birur Nitzotzos,” and how everyone who lives there has a G-dly mission to make “Simcha Martin” into a home for Hashem.
On Wednesday, just a couple of days after the moving ceremony, Rabbi and Rebetzin Chanowitz were blessed with a baby girl! Mazel Tov!