20 Congregation Shari Emouna | Bikor Cholim
Young Men’s Hebrew Association
32 Isaac W. Hirsch | Arthur Israel | J. L. David
Beth Israel Synagogue
Beth Israel—known as the “Little Shul,” or the “Kaluszyner” or “Greener” Shul—was formed in 1911 by about sixty recent immigrants to Charleston, including a substantial contingent from Kaluszyn, Poland, as an alternative to the older Brith Sholom, called the “Big Shul.” Both congregations were Orthodox and Ashkenazi, but the newcomers wanted services more aligned to European traditions and stricter observance of Old World customs. In September 1911, the Charleston Evening Post predicted “a very promising future” for “this new Jewish church in Charleston.” Although the new congregation had limited finances—until 1927 congregants could not afford a full-time rabbi—its members established a cemetery north of the city limits at Lemon and Skurving streets immediately after its initial organization and paid $4,500 for a lot and building on St. Philip Street, four blocks north of Brith Sholom. They converted the former residence into a synagogue, removing interior walls to create a 200-person auditorium with separate seating for men and women. Upstairs was the sexton’s residence and a Hebrew school for children, first conducted by Jacob Glasser.
The congregation’s early hopes for constructing a fine new building were delayed for thirty-five years, and this converted building served as Beth Israel’s house of worship from 1911 until 1948.