One of the oldest synagogues in America, Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim, founded in 1749 in Charleston, South Carolina, became the first to follow Reform practice on this date in 1824 when 47 congregants resigned from the community and organized “The Reformed Society of Israelites.” After nine years,  the members of this society rejoined the old congregation and helped complete its reformation. Its current Greek Revival building was constructed in 1840 and is the second oldest continuously used synagogue in the U.S.; its graveyard is the oldest surviving American Jewish burial ground. Members of the congregation have included Francis Salvador, the first Jew killed in the American Revolution, and Reuben Morris Greenberg, the first Black police chief of Charleston (1982-2005). Greenberg’s innovations as police chief included putting cops on foot, bicycles and horses instead of being constantly in squad cars, and requiring that every officer earn a bachelor’s degree. These and other techniques helped reduce crime in the city and earned a Los Angeles Times profile titled, “A Black, Jewish, Roller-Skating Cop Brings A New Way to Fight Crime to the Old South.”

“This synagogue is our Temple, this city our Jerusalem, and this happy land our Palestine.” —Rev. Gustavus Poznanski, 1841