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Encyclopedia > History of the Jews in Charleston, South Carolina
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There is a long history of Jews living in Charleston, South Carolina, USA. The charter of the Carolina Colony, drawn up by John Locke in 1669, granted liberty of conscience to all settlers, expressly mentioning "Jews, heathens, and dissenters." Jump to: navigation, search Motto: Fedes Mores Juraque Curat Nickname: The Holy City, The Palmetto City Founded Incorporated 1670   County Berkeley and Charleston Counties Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. ... The Carolina Colony grants of 1663 and 1665 The Province of Carolina was a North American English colony that existed from 1663 to 1729, when it was divided into the Provinces of North and South Carolina. ... Jump to: navigation, search John Locke (August 29, 1632 – October 28, 1704) was a 17th-century English philosopher concerned primarily with society and epistemology. ... Freedom of thought (also called freedom of conscience) is the freedom of an individual to hold a viewpoint, or thought, regardless of anyone elses view. ...

The earliest record of a Jew in Charleston occurs in 1695, when one is mentioned as acting as interpreter for Governor Archdale. It is not improbable, however, that individual Jews had settled there at an earlier date. In 1702 Jews appeared in numbers and voted at a general election. The Jewish community at Charleston received a substantial addition during the years 1740-41, when the illiberal policy of the trustees of Georgia induced both Jews and Christians to leave that colony and to flock to South Carolina.


First Synagogue

The first synagogue established at Charleston was that of the Kahal Kodesh Beth Elohim, founded in 1750. Several of its founders had come from Georgia. Its first minister was Isaac da Costa; and among its earliest members were the following: Joseph and Meshod Tobias, Moses Cohen, Abraham da Costa, Moses Pimenta, David de Olivera, Michael Lazarus, and Abraham Nuñez Cardozo. The Beth Elohim congregation is still in existence. Its first synagogue was a small building on Union Street. Its present edifice is situated on Hasell street. The Jews of Charleston at an early date also established a Hebrew Benevolent Society, which still survives.

While the earliest congregation was composed mainly of Portuguese Jews, the German element soon became prominent. Even before 1786 the city possessed not only a Portuguese congregation, but a distinct German-Jewish one as well. The Jewish community soon became very prosperous, and before the Revolution several Jews had acquired wealth and gained distinction. Among these was Moses Lindo, inspector-general and surveyor of indigo, drugs, and dyes for South Carolina.

In War of Independence

During the American Revolutionary War the Jews of Charleston distinguished themselves by their patriotism, and many instances of devotion to the cause of independence are recorded. The majority did good service in the field, several as officers. The most prominent Jew at the outbreak of the war was Francis Salvador, who resided in Ninety-Six District, but was in constant communication with the leaders of the Revolutionary movement at Charleston. Salvador was a member of the South Carolina General Assembly and of the first and second Provincial Congresses, which met in that city. He was one of the leading patriots of the South. Jump to: navigation, search The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the American War of Independence, was a war fought primarily between Great Britain and revolutionaries within thirteen British colonies in North America. ... Old 96 District now a popular tourist destination was ruled by the Cherokee Indians. ... The term general assembly can refer to The largest unit of organisation in the polity of a (national) Presbyterian church, containing several synods or presbyteries. ...

In 1779 a special corps of volunteer infantry was composed largely of Israelites who resided on King street in the city of Charleston. Among its Jewish members were David N. Cardozo, Jacob I. Cohen, and Joseph Solomon. This body subsequently fought under General Moultrie at the battle of Beaufort. Among others who served in the field may be mentioned Jacob de la Motta, Jacob de Leon, Marks Lazarus, the Cardozos, and Mordecai Sheftall, who was deputy commissary-general of issues for South Carolina and Georgia, but who must be considered as a resident of Savannah, Georgia rather than of Charleston. Major Benjamin Nones, a French Jew in Kazimierz Pułaski's regiment, distinguished himself during the siege of Charleston and won the praise of his commander for gallantry and daring. Mordecai Myers was also prominent at this period. Jump to: navigation, search City nickname: The Hostess City Location Government County Chatham Mayor Otis S. Johnson Physical characteristics Area      Land      Water 202. ... Kazimierz PuÅ‚aski Kazimierz PuÅ‚aski (in the USA referred to as Casimir Pulaski) (March 6, 1745 – October 11/15, 1779), born near Warsaw (Winiary-Warka area), Poland, was a Polish nobleman (szlachcic) of Åšlepowron Coat of Arms, soldier and military commander who fought against the Russian (tsarist) Empire in...

In 1790 the Jews of Charleston sent an address of congratulation to Washington upon his accession to the presidency, to which he replied in the most cordial terms.

In 1791 the congregation of Beth Elohim, then numbering fifty-three families, was incorporated by the legislature; and in 1794 its synagogue was consecrated in the presence of General William Moultrie and many of the chief dignitaries of the state. William Moultrie (pronounced Moltree), 1730—1805, American Revolutionary general, b. ...

Shortly after this period many Jews went to Charleston from New York and elsewhere, owing to the great field offered by the South for commercial enterprise. In 1816 the city numbered over 600 Jews, then the largest Jewish population of any city in the United States. Jump to: navigation, search State nickname: The Empire State Other U.S. States Capital Albany Largest city New York City Governor George Pataki (R) Senators Charles Schumer (D) Hillary Rodham Clinton (D) Official languages None (English is de facto) Area 141,205 km² or 54,556 square miles (27th)  - Land...

State Officials

During the early portion of the nineteenth century several Charleston Jews held high offices in the state. Among these may be mentioned: Myer Moses, member of the legislature in 1810, and one of the first commissioners of education; Abraham M. Seixas, a magistrate; and Lyon Levy, state treasurer. A magistrate is a judicial officer with limited authority to administer and enforce the law. ... In many governments, a treasurer is the person responsible for running the treasury. ...

Charleston Jews also rendered valuable service during the War of 1812 and in the Mexican-American War. Jump to: navigation, search The War of 1812 was a conflict fought on land in North America and at sea around the world between the United States and United Kingdom from 1812 to 1815. ... Jump to: navigation, search The Mexican-American War was fought between the United States and Mexico between 1846 and 1848. ...

The first Jewish Reform movement in the United States originated in Charleston. In 1824 a large number of the members of Congregation Beth Elohim petitioned its trustees to shorten the service and to introduce the English language. The petition was rejected, and as a result the petitioners resigned, and organized the Reform Society of Israelites. David Nuñez Carvalho was the first reader of the society; but the most influential man in the movement was Isaac Harby, a distinguished journalist and playwright, editor of the "Quiver," "The Charleston Mercury," and several other publications. About 1843 there was another split in Congregation Beth Elohim, owing to the introduction of an organ into the synagogue. This resulted in the formation of a new congregation known as "Shearith Israel," which, however, reunited with the old congregation in 1866.

Other prominent Charleston Jews during the early part of the nineteenth century were: Penina Moise, born in 1797, who became widely known as a writer of verse; and Mordecai Cohen, to whose memory the city of Charleston erected a tablet in the Orphan House in recognition of his benevolence.

At the outbreak of the American Civil War the Jews of Charleston joined their non-Jewish neighbours in the Confederate cause. Among the prominent soldiers of the Confederacy may be mentioned Gen. E. W. Moise and Dr. Marx E. Cohen. Since the war the Jews of Charleston have been less prominent, owing partly to losses resulting from the struggle, and partly to the fact that the city is no longer the commercial center it formerly was. Among those who have held high office, however, have been Gen. E. W. Moise, adjutant-general of the state of South Carolina from 1876 to 1880, and Franklin J. Moses, chief justice of South Carolina. As of 1902 Charleston was home to fewer than 2000 Jews, a proportion smaller than in 1816. Jump to: navigation, search The American Civil War (1861–1865) was fought in North America within the United States of America, between twenty-three mostly northern states of the Union and the Confederate States of America, a coalition of eleven southern states that declared their independence and claimed the right... For other meanings of confederate and confederacy, see confederacy (disambiguation) National Motto Deo Vindice (Latin: Under God our Vindicator) Official language English de facto nationwide Various European and Native American languages regionally Capital Montgomery, Alabama February 4, 1861–May 29, 1861 Richmond, Virginia May 29, 1861–April 9, 1865 Largest... Jump to: navigation, search 1902 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ...

External links

[Kahal Kodesh Beth Elohim]

This article incorporates text from the public domain 1901-1906 Jewish Encyclopedia. The public domain comprises the body of all creative works and other knowledge—writing, artwork, music, science, inventions, and others—in which no person or organization has any proprietary interest. ... The Jewish Encyclopedia was an encyclopedia originally published between 1901 and 1906 by Funk and Wagnalls. ...

  Results from FactBites:
Charleston, South Carolina - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (4289 words)
Charleston is a city in the counties of Berkeley and Charleston in the U.S. state of South Carolina.
The city of Charleston is located roughly at the mid-point of South Carolina's coastline, at the junction of the Ashley and Cooper Rivers.
Charleston is served by Charleston International Airport the busiest airport in the state.
  More results at FactBites »



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