The seeds of the Jewish Historical Society of South Carolina (JHSSC) were sown in 1993 at a panel discussion sponsored by the Jewish Studies Program at the College of Charleston. The topic under consideration was Jewish life in small towns across South Carolina, and panelists spoke with a sense of urgency about the decline of the communities where they grew up and, more generally, about the disappearance of the small-town Jew. The only way to preserve living memories of this once vigorous element of the Jewish Diaspora was to start recording oral history interviews immediately. In April 1994 the Historical Society was formally inaugurated for the express purpose of encouraging the collection, study, and interpretation of South Carolina Jewish history and to increase awareness of that heritage among Jews and non-Jews.
JHSSC meets twice a year in different cities and towns across South Carolina, publishes a biannual magazine, and maintains an active website. Membership has grown over the past 25 years, now surpassing 500. In partnership with local communities, the Society sponsors historical markers at sites of Jewish interest. Its statewide survey of Jewish burial grounds, accessible on this site, continues to expand, as additional tombstones are photographed and genealogical information discovered. Photographs and indexes of memorial plaques in South Carolina synagogues also serve to keep the names of our ancestors alive.
JHSSC’s major research initiatives have been developed under the auspices of the Jewish Heritage Collection housed in Special Collections at the College of Charleston’s Marlene and Nathan Addlestone Library. To date, more than 400 oral histories pertaining to South Carolina Jewish history and culture have been recorded. Project staff and volunteers have compiled an extensive manuscript collection, including records of families, businesses, synagogues, and Jewish organizations. The archives contain thousands of manuscripts, historical photographs, genealogical records, and fieldwork files. For more information, visit: http://jhc.cofc.edu/
Membership in the Society is open. We encourage you to Click Here to join.
Pearlstine / Lipov Center for Southern Jewish Culture brings together the resources of the Jewish Studies Program, the Jewish Heritage Collection, and the Jewish Historical Society of South Carolina. Activities include speakers, film screenings, online exhibitions, and a research fellowship program.
The Jewish Heritage Collection at the College of Charleston
Located in Special Collections at the College of Charleston’s Addlestone Library, documents the experience of Jewish southerners from colonial times to the present day. The archives includes recorded interviews, photographs, correspondence, documents, business, organizational, and congregation records, genealogies, memoirs, and other primary sources. Researchers can access inventories and descriptions of archival materials through the College of Charleston library catalog or the Special Collections homepage. A growing number of collection items and oral histories have been digitized and are available for viewing online at the Lowcountry Digital Library.
205 Calhoun Street
Charleston, SC 29401
The Yaschik/Arnold Jewish Studies Program was founded at the College of Charleston in 1984 and has enjoyed wide community support, including major gifts from Henry and Sylvia Yaschik, Norman and Gerry Sue Arnold, Jerry and Anita Zucker, Samuel and Regina Shapiro, and Sam Greene. The Program currently has four faculty positions, two endowed chairs, an academic major and minor, Jewish Student Union/Hillel, two centers of academic excellence: the Zucker/Goldberg Center for Holocaust Studies, and the Pearlstine/Lipov Center for Southern Jewish Culture, an ambitious schedule of community events, and a vegan/vegetarian kosher dining hall, Marty’s Place, which opened in January 2016.
96 Wentworth Street
Charleston, SC 29401
Columbia Jewish Heritage Initiative
A multi-discipline project, which will document as well as provide access to and awareness of local Jewish history. The Initiative will identify and fill gaps in documentation of Columbia’s Jewish History Columbia’s Jewish history, document stories of Holocaust survivors who settled in Columbia, encourage dialogue by collecting and sharing stories, images, and documents, broadcast information to diverse audiences through print and web-based media and public programs, create an ongoing coalition to sustain the effort in the future, and record stories of elders of Columbia’s Jewish community.
1601 Richland Street
Columbia, SC 29201