At San Juan's Congregation Sha'are Zedeck, religious services are conducted from a bimah graced -- on special occasions -- with the flags of the United States, Puerto Rico and Israel. Yet 90 percent of the congregation's 255 member families trace their heritage to a fourth country -- Cuba.
With up to 2,300 Jewish inhabitants, Puerto Rico has both the largest Jewish community in the Caribbean and the richest. It also is the only Caribbean island on which the Reform, Conservative and Orthodox movements are represented.
If you're looking for one of the world's newest centers for Judaism, then look no further than at a perverse example of garish excess seen in the past year: one of Saddam Hussein's palaces. Comedian Al Franken lit Chanukah candles in the palace in an illuminative snub of the dictator, who proudly displayed large painting of Scud missiles hitting Israel and gold chairs bearing inscriptions that crow about "victory over the Zionist entity."