1400 Block of Assembly Street
Site of Columbia Israelite Sunday School
After her arrival in 1843, Boanna E. Wolff (1820-1880), sister-in-law of Columbia warden Henry Lyons (1805-1858), established the city’s first Jewish school. The inaugural term began October 15, 1843 with four classes, taught by Wolff, Cecelia Marks, Julia Mordecai and Eliza Marks, and included between 20 and 30 students, aged three to ten years. The building, erected by the Hebrew Benevolent Society in 1846, also housed Columbia’s first congregation, Shearith Israel (Remnant of Israel). The school and congregation, led by president Jacob Levin (1802-1879), were regularly mentioned in the nation’s only Jewish newspaper, The Occident and American Jewish Advocate, due in part to Wolff’s family’s relationship to its publisher, Rabbi Isaac Leeser (1806-1868). The structure was destroyed by fire in 1865.