2955 Highway 160 West
Fort Mill, SC 29708
Years Active: 2006 – present
Founded in 2006, Temple Oseh Shalom is an egalitarian Reform synagogue serving the Jewish communities of Bluffton and Hilton Head. Sue and Bob Wiener, Kathy and Micahel Burnce, Sheila and David Goad, Ken and Linda Hoffman, Tobye and Lewis (of blessed memory) Markowitz, and Barbara Peters were among the founding members. The original concept was B’nei Bagel, a chavurah that would meet once a month to study and enjoy Jewish community. The group eventually grew large enough that they began looking into starting a congregation.1 They did not have enough money or members to have their own building, so they instead decided to rent a space in the Lowcountry Presbyterian Church. Over 167 people showed up to the first Shabbat service on June 16, 2006.2
At the time of its founding, religious lay leaders led services, but more recently, a visiting Rabbi leads monthly services. Robert “Bob” Seigel served as the first rabbi of Oseh Shalom.3 Today, two rabbis–Rabbi Ken Kanter and Rabbi Ron Simons– alternate services. Al Balkan originally served as the cantor, and was later succeeded by Ken Rosenberg. A choir has been active since 2007.4
The first Torah is from Israel and the ark was built by a member of the congregation. Charlotte Fisher donated a second Torah scroll in 2006, and a third Torah was donated by Bill and Roz Altman in 2010. The first B’nei Mitzvah was that of Tiffani Gibbens in June 2007. The congregation also had two B’nei Mitzvah classes composed of older, adult women who had never had the chance to have a Bat Mitzvah of their own. Another important occassion was the dedication of a burial space in December 2008. A portion of Saul’s Lowcountry Gardens burial grounds was dedicated to Temple Oseh Shalom and has space for 509 burials.5
The congregation also works in conjunction with Parris Island Recruit Depot to help serve the Jewish recruits. The Brotherhood and Sisterhood also work to provide events and activities for their respective groups and the larger Jewish community. As of June 2016, Oseh Shalom boasts over 500 members.6
1. Temple Oseh Shalom 10th Anniversary Video.
2. “Templeosehshalom. – Home.”
3. Temple Oseh Shalom 10th Anniversary Video.
4. Temple Oseh Shalom 10th Anniversary Video.
5. Temple Oseh Shalom 10th Anniversary Video.
6. Temple Oseh Shalom 10th Anniversary Video.
Temple Oseh Shalom 10th Anniversary Video, 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64uFRrzRz8g&t=128s.
“Templeosehshalom. – Home.” Accessed December 11, 2023. https://www.templeosehshalom.org/.