A variety of events celebrating the centennial of the Adath Yeshurun Synagogue in Aiken, SC will take place starting in March 2022. The programs will investigate and celebrate the Jewish history of Aiken County. The Centennial Celebration weekend is scheduled for March 4-6 and will coincide with the opening of the “A Source of Light” Exhibit at the Aiken County Historical Museum. SC Humanities supported this programming with a Major Grant.
Aiken has a rich and interesting Jewish history. There is evidence of Jewish residents in Aiken as early as the 1850s. Congregation Adath Yeshurun received its charter in 1921, celebrating its centennial in 2021. Much of the official programming celebrating the centennial had to be rescheduled to 2022 due to the pandemic. As part of the celebration project, Congregation Adath Yeshurun has created a website that tells a comprehensive story of the Aiken Jewish Community through the present and includes profiles of over 40 Jewish Merchant stores in Aiken as well as histories of the major early Aiken Jewish families. www.asourceoflight.org
The Centennial Celebration Weekend will be from March 4th – 6th and will include the formal opening of the exhibit, the unveiling of a historic marker on Laurens Street highlighting the role of “Aiken’s Jewish Merchants,” and various other programs. For more information & to register, visit the website HERE.
The “A Source of Light” Exhibit will be open at the Aiken County Historical Museum from March – May 2022 and will highlight the history and contributions of the Aiken Jewish community from then 1850s to today. Watch a video overview of the exhibit developed before Covid forced the postponement last year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqU57cH5nsw. The Aiken County Historical Museum is located at 433 Newberry St SW, Aiken, SC 29801 and is open Tuesday through Friday from 10am – 5pm and Sundays from 2 – 5.
Other programs include a self-guided walking tour of Aiken Jewish merchant sites that is available to anyone who visits the museum, a commemorative catalogue, and several other lectures and events in partnership with the museum.
The mission of SC Humanities is to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of all South Carolinians. Established in 1973, this 501(c) 3 organization is governed by a volunteer 21-member Board of Directors comprised of community leaders from throughout the state. It presents and/or supports literary initiatives, lectures, exhibits, festivals, publications, oral history projects, videos and other humanities-based experiences that directly or indirectly reach more than 250,000 citizens annually.
Image: Suarsky Brothers Store, Laurens St, Aiken SC, circa 1914, courtesy of Esther Persky albums, Special Collections, College of Charleston