Columbia Jewish Heritage Initiative

Columbia Jewish Heritage Initiative

Phase one of the mobile version of our guide to Columbia’s Jewish Heritage is now available! Click here to learn more about sites with ties to the Jewish community.

The CJHI team is working to add additional people and places in the coming months. If you have a story or photograph you’d like to share, please get in touch with us here. We’d love to hear from you!

Historic Columbia, in partnership with the College of Charleston’s Jewish Heritage Collection, the Jewish Community Center and Columbia Jewish Federation, the Jewish Historical Society of South Carolina and Richland Library, has established the Columbia Jewish Heritage Initiative - a multi-discipline project, which will document as well as provide access to and awareness of local Jewish history.

In April 2014, leadership of the Jewish Community Center (JCC) and Columbia Jewish Federation (CJF) approached Historic Columbia (HC) about expanding an existing community-based initiative to include a thematic exploration of local Jewish history.  In response to the initial inquiry, HC and the JCC/CJF invited representatives from various state and local organizations that support the Jewish community through religious, educational, cultural, and research activities to discuss the needs and opportunities in the community.  To date, concerns voiced by various constituents include: 

  • the generation of Jews who experienced the Holocaust is rapidly diminishing and many stories of survivors who settled in Columbia, South Carolina,  have not been documented;
  • while Columbia enjoys a long and rich history of Jewish settlement, there is little access to and awareness of the impact of this group locally; and
  • while there are a number of religious, educational, and cultural events connected to Columbia’s Jewish heritage, the community lacks cohesion that other ethnic groups enjoy.

Through the Columbia Jewish Heritage Initiative, Historic Columbia will work with its partners to:

  • identify gaps in the documentation of Columbia’s history
  • collect stories, images, documents, etc. that enable a more complete story to be told
  • utilize use a variety of print and web-based platforms to share information collected and
  • establish a coalition of organizations committed to this effort for the future.  

In May 2017, the CJHI team announced Kugels & Collards, a blog dedicated to exploring Columbia's Jewish history through food. If you would like to share a recipe or volunteer to help with this effort, please click HERE.

In June 2017, staff of Historic Columbia and several CJHI volunteers were honored to accept a 2017 Heritage Tourism Award at the SC State House.

At the outcome of this initiative Columbia’s Jewish history will be documented and accessible in a variety of formats including expanded archives, print materials, web-based tours and interviews, and public programs. Make a donation to the Columbia Jewish Heritage Initiative!

If you are interested in learning more about the initiative and/or getting involved, please contact Robin Waites, Executive Director, Historic Columbia at 803.252.7742 ext 14 or

Historic images courtesy of Special Collections, College of Charleston Library, David Fechter, and the McKissick Museum.

Special Thanks to Our Sponsors!

    • Historic Columbia
    • Richland Library
    • Central Carolina Community Foundation
    • Jewish Historical Society
    • Jewish Community Center
    • Southern Jewish Historical Society
    • South Carolina Humanities Council
    • Baker & Baker
    • College of Charleston
    • Columbia Jewish Federation
    • City of Columbia