Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim, Charleston

#8 of 31 in Museums in Charleston
Religious Site · Hidden Gem · History Museum
Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim (Hebrew: קהל קדוש בית אלוהים‎, also known as K. K. Beth Elohim, or more simply Congregation Beth Elohim), founded in 1749, is one of the oldest Jewish congregations in the United States. The congregation is nationally significant as the place where ideas resembling Reform Judaism were first evinced. It meets in an architecturally significant 1840 Greek Revival synagogue located at 90 Hasell (pronounced as if it were spelled Hazel) Street in Charleston, South Carolina. It was designed by Cyrus L. Warner.

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Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
621 reviews
  • I wanted to leave a positive review, and first admit my bias: I was raised in Charleston and was bar-mitzvahed here. I have always loved KKBE and frequently come back for services and to show...  more »
  • Sadly closed due to the pandemic, this is the second oldest synagogue in the US (after Truro in Newport, Rhode Island), the oldest continuous Jewish congregation in the US, and the founders of the...  more »
  • On the plus side, the synagogue, what we could see of it, was beautiful and interesting. On the not so plus side we were not greeted very warmly. In full disclosure we were late for the tour on a Friday afternoon and the synagogue was closing in about 20 -30 minutes. Shabbat was still a few hours away. We were greeted a bit abruptly but told we could walk inside the museum and gift shop. We asked if we could just peek inside the sanctuary and were told no. When we asked again we were sarcastically told we could "try it" but the woman knew it was locked. We were walking through the museum, as invited, and then suddenly the same women, now all warm and welcoming, suggested that we save some time to see the gift shop. Apparently it was okay if we were there as long as we were going to spend money. We know the historical significance of the synagogue and were doing our best to see it during a very short visit. A little warmth and welcoming would have been appreciated, even if we couldn't take the full tour. Instead it left a bad taste in our mouths.
  • This is a historic synagogue, and very beautifully designed in a greek revival colonial style. The same architect who designed this also designed the similar looking Catholic Church across the street. I will give this a 5 star to visit in the winter, but only a 3 star to visit in the summer. It is simply too hot to walk though and sit on a tour, since they did not turn the air conditioning on the week in August 2017 when we visited. We were too uncomfortable. I would skip it in the summer unless you like hot and humid indoor destinations.

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