Charleston Sojourn Pt 2

DAY 2

Fortified by coffee and a nibble of fresh croissants, we’re off to explore more of the city.

IMG-0348.jpgFirst up, a guided tour of Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim, one of the oldest Jewish congregations in the United States.

IMG-0217Charleston was founded in 1670, and by 1695 the first Jewish settler had arrived. Others soon followed, attracted by the civil and religious liberty of South Carolina and ample economic opportunities. Congregation Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim (Holy Congregation House of God) was established in 1749; the original Georgian synagogue was destroyed in the 1838 fire that devastated much of the city, and the current Greek Revival building was built on the same site in 1840.

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Peeling plasterwork is scheduled for renovation — a big job!

The museum traces the history of these early families through maps, books, paintings and memorabilia. There’s also a wonderful letter written by George Washington to leaders of the Jewish community thanking them for their support and affirming his commitment to religious tolerance throughout the colonies.

Charleston was nicknamed “Holy City” for its religious freedoms and numerous places of worship: Calvinist, Catholic, Anglican, Quaker, Jewish, Baptist and Protestant. The many historic churches are pretty spectacular. IMG-0223

We slip inside Mount Zion AME to hear the minister’s rousing sermon.  He exhorts his congregation to “Shake, shake, shake the devil out!” during this Easter/Passover season.

Then, it’s on to The Charleston Museum.  Exhibits include artifacts, natural history, decorative arts and vivid depictions of plantation life.  Since the museum is overrun with school groups, we beat a hasty retreat to tour the nearby Joseph Manigault HouseIMG-0238.JPGThe family still lives locally and has kept the good furniture so most displays are true to the period but not original; that’s disappointing.

Back in the now-deserted Charleston museum, we admire quilts and dinosaurs.

Next: a “light” lunch of crab cakes and hush puppies at Hyman’s Seafood, established in 1890 when portions (and people) were a lot smaller.

 

 

Then: antiquing on King Street, and a folk art exhibit at the Gibbes Museum.

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George Birlant on King Street, founded 1922

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This enormous sweetgrass basket took 3 years to craft. It’s stunning.

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I’d have gone to this dentist in the 1800’s, wouldn’t you?

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A spectacular marble bust in the permanent collection.

We meet up with T&B for dinner at FIG, which is my favorite meal so far.

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 French’s French-fried onion rings were a childhood fave. FIG’s are a bit more sophisticated.

 

6 thoughts on “Charleston Sojourn Pt 2

  1. adguru101 Post author

    A very short answer: There are 3 main branches of Judaism: Orthodox (the very religious), Conservative (in the middle, for instance they conduct prayers in Hebrew but with some “shortcuts”), and Reform (services mostly in English or the local language, and shorter). The Chasidim are ultra-Orthodox.

    The Reform movement was a reaction against the strict Orthodox doctrines, not unlike the English Reformation and the dispute between Henry VIII and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Later, many Jews felt that was too much of a departure and the Conservative movement gained traction as a compromise.

    Hope that helps!

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

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