First Congregation Sons of Israel is the oldest synagogue in the Nation’s oldest city, St. Augustine, Florida. Our congregation, with its humble beginnings in the 1800’s, has been active continuously since. These early Jewish settlers to St. Augustine had a vision to provide a place for Jewish worship, learning, and activities for the members then, and to provide an enduring legacy for future generations. Because of a request from descendants of those original families to continue that vision, restoration plans were in the process when Hurricane Matthew struck on October 7, 2016.
This 100 year storm caused extensive damage to the Sanctuary. The Sanctuary houses the historic stained and leaded glass windows, and the Torah scrolls which were brought from Europe to St. Augustine by the early congregants. The heart of our congregation lies in the Sanctuary. Here, the culture of the congregation is maintained, preserved, and celebrated daily. Because there is not adequate insurance coverage, the Congregation needs help in restoring and repairing damage to this historic building so that we can reopen the Sanctuary for services.
The storm flooded the Sanctuary causing the HVAC system to fail, ruined prayer books, damaged the office and its equipment, and caused the shut down of the Sanctuary for the first time in 93 years. We are working with a professional remediation company to address the water damage. We need to begin repairs and replacement of the damaged and lost items right away so that we can reopen the Sanctuary for full services, and continue with our restoration plans. There are 4th and 5th generation descendents of the Congregation Founders who continue as members, many of whom have suffered personal loss during this devastating storm. Having their spiritual home restored would bring stability and continuity to their lives. We would appreciate your help to make our spiritual home whole again.
If you are interested in making a donation to help with our Repair and Restoration efforts, you may through our GoFundMe campaign.
If you prefer, you may donate via check payable to First Congregation Sons of Israel, PO Box 352, St. Augustine, FL 32085.