Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim Synagogue, a National Historic Landmark, in Charleston, SC, is the country's second oldest synagogue and the oldest in continuous use. The American Reform Judaism movement originated at this site in 1824. The congregation of Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim — meaning Holy Congregation House of God — was established in colonial Charleston in 1749, and is now the nation's fourth oldest Jewish community. The building reflects the history of Jewish worship in Charleston, as well as the high degree of religious tolerance within the Carolina colony.
The Beth Elohim congregation began as an Orthodox community, founded primarily by Sephardic immigrants (of Spanish and Portuguese ancestry). By the end of the 18th century, the Beth Elohim congregation had become the largest Jewish community in the nation, with a membership of 500. This synagogue was built in 1840, on the site of the congregation's first synagogue destroyed in the Charleston fire of 1838. The building is an excellent example of the Greek Revival style, as its form, portico and rich ornamentation are adapted from classic Greek temples. Designed by New York architect Cyrus L. Warner, the temple was built by congregation member, David Lopez.
Interior of the Synagogue
Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim Synagogue is located at 90 Hasell St., 10 blocks south of the temple's Coming Street Cemetery, the oldest Jewish burial ground in the South. The temple is open for tours Monday-Friday 10:00am-12:00pm; the gift shop remains open until 12:30pm. Call 843-723-1090 for further information.National Park Service