Myer Jacobs

Calhoun Street

A states’ rights advocate and religious reformer

Born in England, Myer Jacobs (1791–1861) married Rebecca Lazarus (1791–1869), a daughter of Marks and Rachel Lazarus, in 1817. He attended the 1832 Nullification Congress in Charleston as a proponent of that doctrine, whose adherents believed that state laws could trump federal laws. Many believed that protective tariffs on imports benefitted New England, at the expense of the South, so southern states wanted to reject the tariff and threatened secession. (That was averted when Congress voted to begin a scale back of the tariffs.) He also stood up against another branch of authority by joining the Reformed Society of Israelites, later signing the 1840 petition to install an organTwo years after the devastating 1838 fire, members of Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim circulated a document advocating for the installation of an organ in the new synagogue, then under construction. The move was supported by hazan Gustavus Poznanski and reform-inclined congregants who wanted to enjoy instrumental music in synagogue worship. It was opposed by those who held to the traditional prohibition of instrumental music on the Sabbath. The “organ faction” won the day and the traditionalists left to form their own congregation, Shearit Israel. in the rebuilt synagogue of Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim.

Gravestone of Myer Jacobs (1791–1861) and his wife, Rebecca Lazarus (1791–1869)

Gravestone of Myer Jacobs (1791–1861) and his wife, Rebecca Lazarus (1791–1869)

Coming Street Cemetery. Photo by Stephane Grauzam, ca. 2015. Courtesy of Jewish Historical Society of South Carolina.