Bishopville Hebrew Congregation

Bishopville, SC 29010

Year Built:


Years Active:

Architectural Overview

Congregation History

The town of Bishopville was originally known as Singleton’s Crossroads. Located in present-day Lee County, the 465 acres of land that comprises  the town was first granted to Jacob Chamber by the state in 1786 and was later purchased and resold to William Singleton in 1790.1

Small Town Jewish Life
It is believed that Louis Slesinger, possibly hailing from Eastern Europe, was the first Jew to settle in Bishopville in the early 20th century. Slesinger’s career mirrored many other Southern Jewish immigrants. He got his start as a peddler who later became a store owner, buying and selling furs.2He, in turn, convinced both family and nonfamily to join him until there were roughly eight other Jewish families, including the Cahn, Ginsberg, Krasnoff, Levenson, Levy, Sindler, Steinberg, and Traub families in Bishopville.3 Because of the size of the Jewish community, they were quite close-knit in spite of not all of them being related.

A majority of the community adhered to  Conservative practices, with those who were kosher having their dietary needs met by Rabbi David Karesh, of Columbia, coming down every two weeks to butcher chickens. For services, an informal congregation met regularly.  It eventually incorporated in 1925 under the name Bishopville Hebrew Congregation. On account of the small size of the congregation, they met in Masonic Hall located over a men’s clothing store owned by congregant Frank Sindler. Oscar Levy was elected as the first president of the organization and while there was no official rabbi, they would hire rabbinical students to lead services for the High Holy Days.4 In order to appease members who were stricter in practice, holiday services were held in Hebrew and there was also separate seating for men and women.

As in many other small congregations in South Carolina, the Jewish children attended Sunday school in neighboring towns. In this case, Jewish children  attended Sunday school at Sumter’s Temple Sinai. Burials would also be done at Temple Sinai’s cemetery.5

In 1937, roughly 55 Jews lived in Bishopville. The community suffered a significant blow due to the Great Depression as many of the Jews were merchants. By the 1950s, the community was no longer financially viable. The congregation had shrunk and could no longer afford to hire student rabbis even for High Holy days. Some time in the 1950s, the congregation officially disassembled and donated their Torah, books, and candelabra to Beth Shalom, Columbia’s Conservative synagogue.6


1. “About,” City of Bishopville, SC, accessed June 16, 2023,
2. Jewish Heritage Collection: Oral history interview with Allan Jay Sindler and Sophie Payeff Sindler, interview by Dale Rosengarten, May 23, 1995, Special Collections, College of Charleston,
3. “ISJL – South Carolina Bishopville Encyclopedia,” Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life, accessed June 16, 2023,
4. “ISJL – South Carolina Bishopville Encyclopedia.”
5. “ISJL – South Carolina Bishopville Encyclopedia.”
6. “ISJL – South Carolina Bishopville Encyclopedia.”

Works Cited
City of Bishopville, SC. “About.” Accessed June 16, 2023.

Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life. “ISJL – South Carolina Bishopville Encyclopedia.” Accessed June 16, 2023.

Jewish Heritage Collection: Oral history interview with Allan Jay Sindler and Sophie Payeff Sindler. Interview by Dale Rosengarten, May 23, 1995. Special Collections, College of Charleston.

Jewish Historical Society of South Carolina



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96 Wentworth Street
Charleston, SC 29424
Phone: 843 953 3918

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