3 Willard Hirsch Sculpture, City Hall Park
4 Francis Salvador Memorial, City Hall Park
College of Charleston
Founded in 1770 and chartered in 1785, the College of Charleston has become a major center of Jewish activity in the region. Jews have attended the College since the early 19th century; in 1855, the trustees accommodated Jewish students by excusing them from mandatory chapel attendance. The campus lies at the heart of what was once Charleston’s Orthodox neighborhood, where two synagogues—Brith Sholom and Beth Israel—the Jewish Community Center, the Daughters of Israel Hall, and a “parsonage” for Brith Sholom’s rabbi were located along St. Philip Street. These historic Jewish institutions moved elsewhere and the buildings they occupied have been replaced by the College’s expansive School of the Arts, but CofC is more than ever a center of Jewish life and letters.
The Yaschik/Arnold Jewish Studies Program moved into a new facility in 2002 at the corner of Wentworth and Glebe streets. Designed by Rosenblum/Coe Architects, Inc. and built by M.B. Kahn, the Center occupies the site of a dry cleaning business run for 20 years by Jerold and Lilah Hirschman. Inaugurated in 1984, the program now supports four faculty positions, one endowed chair, an academic major and minor, an ambitious schedule of community events, Hillel, the Zucker/Goldberg Center for Holocaust Studies, the Jewish Historical Society of South Carolina, the Pearlstine/Lipov Center for Southern Jewish Culture, the Arnold Center for Israel Studies, and Marty’s Place, a kosher/vegetarian/vegan dining hall that opened in 2016.
Since its inception in 1995, the Jewish Heritage Collection (JHC) has earned a national and even international reputation as a repository of archival materials on southern Jewish life. As part of the Special Collections department, JHC relocated in 2005 to the spacious Marlene and Nathan Addlestone Library—a new facility named for a philanthropic Jewish businessman and his wife. JHC has created an oral history archives with more than 500 recorded interviews and acquired hundreds of manuscript collections documenting Jewish families, businesses, organizations, and congregations—catalogued and made available to the public for research. JHC also has developed a rich online presence through websites, virtual exhibitions, and the Lowcountry Digital Library, which provides access to its oral histories, selected manuscript materials, and a vast collection of Jewish iconography from around the world assembled by William A. Rosenthall, longtime rabbi of Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim.