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The Jewish Roots of Columbia with Hon. Richard Gergel

Tuesday, January 12, 2021 28 Tevet 5781

7:00 PM - 8:00 PMZoom

The Honorable Judge Ridchard Gergel will discuss The Jewish Roots of Columbia. Columbia had a vibrant Jewish community dating at least from the early 1800's, which founded the Hebrew Benevolent Society cemetery, a synagogue on Assembly Street, and the seventh Jewish Sunday School in America.  Columbia had two Jewish mayors before the Civil War, a number of Jewish physicians and attorneys, and Jewish businesses dominated Main Street (then known as Richardson Street).  In 1830, Columbia had the highest percentage of Jews to the total population of any city in the United States.  The burning of Columbia financially devastated the city and its Jewish community and destroyed the synagogue.  After 40 years without a synagogue, Tree of Life was born.  I will discuss this early history and the birth of the Tree of Life 125 years ago,

Short Bio of The Honorable Richard Gergel:  Born in Columbia in 1954.  Four generations of family were members of the Tree of Life. Twice served as president of congregation. Practiced law in Columbia for 30 years.  Appointed United States District Judge in 2010 and assigned the Charleston Federal Courthouse.  Have resided since 2010 in Charleston.  Co-author with Dr. Belinda Gergel of In Pursuit of the Tree of Life:  The History of the Early Jews of Columbia, South Carolina and author of Unexampled Courage: The Blinding of Sgt. Isaac Woodard and the Awakening of President Harry Truman and Judge Waties Waring (2019).

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Sun, January 24 2021 11 Sh'vat 5781