The small southern city of Charleston, South Carolina may not be the place that comes to mind when thinking of American cities with a notable Jewish history. However, Jews have chosen Charleston as a place to make their home since the 1690s. Charleston is home to one of the oldest Jewish congregations in the United States and, into the early 1800’s, was home to the largest Jewish community in the United States. This exhibit captures the history of Judaism from early American through World War I, a particularly vibrant and tumultuous era of Charleston’s history. By exploring the experiences of Jewish communities in their synagogues, their homes, and the public square, it offers a more complete view of the historical religious landscape in Charleston.
Published November 2022.
Shari Rabin, Professor of Jewish Studies and Religion, Oberlin College and Conservatory.