President’s Message

Fifty Years of Permanence and Change

Fifty years of an unbroken chain of Friday night services—neither rain nor power outages nor hurricanes had interrupted our Kabbalat Shabbat—until September 20, 2017, when Hurricane Maria struck.

There are events that shake a society to its core, that shake its sense of security profoundly. For the generation of the 40s it was Pearl Harbor. For the generation of the 60s it was the assassination of President Kennedy. At the turn of the century it was 9/11. For Puerto Rico in 2017 it was Hurricane Maria. Maria disrupted everything: We were left with no power, no water, no line phones, no cell connection within the island, no internet. Roads were blocked, houses were flooded, roofs were torn off. It was total devastation.

And yet we prevailed.

As soon as we could we had services with generators and rotating fans, and had our Shabbat potluck lunch in the dark of the social hall by flashlights, lanterns, and candles.

We received an outpouring of support. The Jewish Federations of North America and the Union for Reform Judaism have been very generous, for which we are very, very grateful. We have received countless donations from individuals.

Our plans for our 50th Anniversary Celebration in October 2017 were destroyed by Maria, but as soon as it was feasible we began planning for it again.

So we pick up the pieces from where we left off: Fifty years of an almost unbroken chain of Friday night services; fifty years of a dynamic Reform congregation which has changed dramatically over the years from predominantly English-speaking Jews-by-birth to predominantly Spanish-speaking Jews-by-choice; fifty years of impressive spiritual leaders: three different permanent rabbis and many, many distinguished visiting rabbis and cantors, including a completely bilingual visiting rabbi in our present rotation.

We have prevailed.

With gratitude,

Dr. Emily Krasinski,

President