Beth Israel Synagogue unveils historical marker
Beth Israel, Florence’s only Jewish synagogue and a pillar of Jewish life in the Pee Dee, unveiled an historical marker from the state of South Carolina on Tuesday, Sept. 14. “My great-grandfather, Louis Greenberg, helped start the congregation many generations ago, and I’m proud of our small and mighty group of involved members that made this accomplishment possible,” said Barnett Greenberg, a synagogue trustee. Greenberg said he appreciated Florence City Council members George Jebaily and Bryan Braddock for coming out to share in the milestone. “The Jewish people have a rich history in Florence... for nearly two centuries. We greatly appreciate this resolution from Florence City Council recognizing a pillar of Jewish life, faith, and camaraderie,” said Greenberg. After forming a community in the 1850s as the city began to grow, in 1887 local Jews began the Florence Hebrew Benevolent Association. In 1912 Beth Israel Congregation was born. The institutions merged in 1922. The first synagogue was built in 1949. “Florence has always been a place where I have felt respected for who I am and what I believe in. I’m proud to call the Pee Dee home and appreciate my parents raising me to honor my true self,” said Greenberg. The Beth Israel Congregation held a ceremony Sunday to celebrate the location of a historical marker at the synagogue. Speaking at the ceremony were Rabbi Leah Doberne-Schor, Larry Falck, Barnett Greenberg and Dr. Alex Cohen.