“The community is our family” – A personal story
Fifteen Jewish families in Guatemala City with nowhere else to go came together to build the Shaar Hashamaim Bnei Anousim (Converso) community. Among the community’s founding members is Gerardo Flores and his wife, Aury de Flores. But they are more than just figureheads.
The couple, married for over 22 years, have been active in the Jewish community for quite some time. Gerardo has an academic degree in electrical engineering and is a senior executive in a leading company in the South America region in the commercialization of telecommunications equipment for the main operating companies of this area in a central part of South America.
Aury studied international relations but chose to postpone her career be home raising their three children, now aged 20, 19 and 8 years old.
“Shaar Hashamaim is our family,” Aury declared. “Here we can find people who share our deep desire to live a life according to Judaism, through the fulfillment of mitzvot.”
Gerardo adds, “In the community we can pray with a minyan (a quorum of adult males), observe the Torah commandments and learn from others. The community has been concerned with providing us with kosher meat and opportunities to keep Shabbat and holidays. It is the place where my family can develop in a healthy environment, with Torah and Judaism”.
The Flores family’s dedication to Judaism and their community life is expressed in the efforts they invest in its development. In fact, the very property that has been designated for the community’s needs is owned by Gerardo and he has placed it at the community’s disposal for an indefinite period of time. Meanwhile, Aury has put her time with her children to good use by being the designated person in charge of all of the children’s activities.