Charleston in Charleston County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim
( Holy Congregation House of God )
The Cradle of Reformed Judaism
In The United States, 1824
Jews who settled in Charleston as early as 1695 worshipped informally until the founding of this congregation in 1750. First synagogue on this site, 1780-1792, was a converted cotton gin. A second built 1793, was burned in 1838. The Sunday School begun in 1838 was the second Jewish Sunday School in the United States. The The present synagogue, designed by C.L. Warner and built by David Lopez, 1840, is the second oldest in the United States, and oldest in continuous use. The tabernacle was built in 1948 on the site of the old tabernacle (1838-1948). George Washington wrote the congregation in 1790 : "May the same temporal and eternal blessings which you implore for me, rest upon your congregations."
Erected by Approved by the Historical Commission of Charleston S.C.
Location. 32° 46.924′ N, 79° 55.968′ W. Marker is in Charleston, South Carolina, in Charleston County. Marker is on Hasell Street, on the right when traveling west. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 90 Hasell Street, Charleston SC 29401, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim (here, next to this marker); St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church (a few steps from this marker); Riviera Theatre (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); City Market (about 600 feet away); Charleston City Market (about 600 feet away); Trinity Methodist Church Original Site / William Hammett (about 700 feet away); The Site of Carteret Bastion (about 800 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Charleston.
Regarding Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim. (Beth Elohim Synagogue) Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim possesses national significance as the birthplace, in 1824,of Reform Judaism in America. Originated by German Jews in the early 1800s, the Reform Movement spread rapidly through central Europe and to the United States, where it led to radical changes in Jewish doctrine during the remainder of the 19th century. The influx of German, Austrian, and Bavarian Jews that began in 1836 and continued into the 1890s was a major factor in the success of American Reform. Thus Beth Elohimís pioneering role is accentuated both because the reform group arose within an Orthodox and mainly Sephardic community and because it antedated the first large-scale Ashkenazic
Also see . . .
1. Jewish-American History Documentation Foundation. The Jewish Congregation of Charleston...When the Jews were banished from Spain thousands fled to Holland,and many of them sought the western hemisphere, deeming it a securer asylum than any other land afforded. It was to America, to this great land (in which liberty has erected her sacred temple) they strained their eager eyes, and from the persecutions of the old, fled to the new world, to enjoy the great prerogative of worshipping God according to the dictates of their consciences, untrammeled by priestcraft, or the strong arm of arbitrary rule.Many of the founders of this congregation were the direct descendants of those Jews who were driven from Spain by the barbarous decrees of that government. A large number of them settled in this state, and when the revolutionary struggle commenced, all those who could (Submitted on February 9, 2012, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.)
2. The history of Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim. KKBE is the fourth oldest Jewish congregation in the continental United States (after New York, Newport and Savannah). (Submitted on February 9, 2012, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.)
3. From the Ends of the Earth: Judaic Treasures of the Library of Congress, The Father of His Country. In the Washington Papers at the Library of Congress are the original addresses to him from the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode island, and the Hebrew Congregations in Philadelphia, New York, Charleston, and Richmond. Also present are the retained copies of the president's replies to them and to the Hebrew Congregation of the City of Savannah. (Submitted on February 9, 2012, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.)
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Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 397 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on , by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.