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The Jewish Daily Forward


The Forward Association


The Beth Elohim Synagogue, founded in the 1749 in downtown Charleston South Carolina, is one of the very earliest synagogues in America. While other more recent synagogues and congregations are also now a part of Charleston city life, as the oldest one in the area, the Beth Elohim Synagogue is the repository for certain historical artifacts of Jewish life in the city. One such artifact they hold is a marble tablet honoring Mordecai Cohen (1763-1848) that was commissioned by the City of Charleston to honor one of the city’s greatest benefactors. Cohen, one of the wealthiest men in South Carolina, had long supported and donated money to the Charleston Orphan’s House – the first public orphanage in the United States and one that relied upon both public funds and private patrons to serve the white poor of the city of all faiths. Mordecai Cohen served as a commissioner to the Orphan’s House for ten years and made hefty contributions for forty-five years.


This manuscript has been published in The Jewish Daily Forward. Please find the published version here: