Pearlstine/Lipov Center for Southern Jewish Culture

Pearlstine/Lipov Center for Southern Jewish Culture


If Charleston SC Coming Street cemetery, which this synagogue owns and manages, contains any Confederate symbols it is high time, in accord with the teachings and ethics underpinning Judaism, that they now be removed.

There has been renewed interest in removing or changing racist, Confederate statues and flags in South Carolina.

And because of our history and heritage, we have a lot of them.

Talk about a rogue’s gallery. Here is a small sample of some of the statues and monuments we have in South Carolina:

· The State House has six monuments honoring the Confederacy.

· Clemson University has a building named for “Pitchfork” Ben Tillman, a former S.C. governor and U.S. senator who was also a member of an all-white, post-Civil War militia responsible for lynching African-Americans. (Winthrop University also has a building named for him)

· Also on the SC State House grounds is a statue honoring Marion Sims, “the father of modern gynecology.” Sims made his discoveries by torturing female slaves without anesthesia.

· In York County, the courtroom flies a Confederate flag and displays pictures of Confederate generals, prompting African-Americans to wonder if they can get a fair trial.

According to The (Columbia) State newspaper, “The city of Greenwood, for instance, wants to change its monument honoring its fallen World War I soldiers. Now, those soldiers are listed separately on two plaques – one listing the “colored” dead, another listing the “white” dead.”

So why can’t SC communities simply remove or change these offensive items? Because the SC legislature passed a law called “The Heritage Act” that requires that at least two-thirds of both the House and Senate must approve any change to any monument. That means local government can’t change or remove any of these offensive flags or statues.

Sign our petition to repeal The Heritage Act. Let local South Carolina communities vote to remove or change offensive monuments.

I’m curious if these are the Pearlstines from my family. My grandfather’s (Isaac Jacobs) mother’s maiden name was Pearlstine, and I can’t imagine there were too many of them in Charleston. At any point! I know when I last went to the Jewish cemetery there, like HALF of the names were relatives. Mostly Jacobs but also this name & I think Karesh or some variant of that last name. And Bass.
For white supremacists, Confederate monuments aren’t about the past — they symbolize a racist vision of the future.

Why Bibles Given to Slaves Omitted Most of the Old Testament
The so-called “Slave Bible” told of Joseph’s enslavement but left out the parts where Moses led the Israelites to freedom.
I'm please to be joining the NEH Institute, "Privilege and Prejudice: Jewish History in the American South" this summer!
Take a look at our new website and help us spread the word!

Creating knowledge & conversations about the Jewish South at the College of Charleston and beyond. A

Operating as usual


Welcome back students! We hope you had a great summer and are excited for the coming semester!


What we’re reading this weekend: “The Jews of Summer: Summer Camp and Jewish Culture in Postwar America” by Dr. Sandra Fox. Sandy was a Pearlstine/Lipov Center for Southern Jewish Culture research fellow and used her fellowship to explore archival materials about Jewish summer camps in the Jewish Heritage Collection at the College of Charleston.

Our Southern kitchens are where Black and Jewish traditions come together - Jewish Telegraphic Agency 08/10/2023

We can't wait to get our hands on "Kugels and Collards" by Rachel Barnett and Lyssa Harvey. Here's a small sneak peek of what lies within:

"The diversity of ingredients found in our favorite meals reflects the contributions of individuals underrepresented in or absent from earlier accounts of Southern Jewish cuisine. What we consider “typical Southern fare” reveals the culinary legacy of Africans brought against their will to the American South centuries ago. On many Southern Jewish tables, it is not unusual to have African-American staples such as collard greens, black-eyed peas and rice alongside European Jewish dishes like brisket, tzimmes and kugel. The aromas, textures and tastes of these meals made their way into the homes of our immigrant grandparents through generations of Black South Carolinians working in traditional Jewish kitchens."

Our Southern kitchens are where Black and Jewish traditions come together - Jewish Telegraphic Agency The authors of a new cookbook explore how culinary cultures blended in places like their native South Carolina.


The latest issue of the Jewish Historical Society of South Carolina magazine is now available! This issue focuses on southern Jewish foodways here in SC. You can check it out at the following link:


Spread the word: Historic Columbia is looking for a Research Coordinator to assist in or lead research and interpretive projects related to historic sites, communities, and individuals. Work will include navigating and evaluating information found in online databases and archival collections, as well as developing relationships with community members and partners.

Careers | Historic Columbia As a leader in heritage tourism, Historic Columbia provides house museum tours, walking tours and guided bus tours of Columbia's cultural and historical assets. Additionally, the organization hosts annual programs and events such as the Gardening Symposium and the Jubilee: Fes...

College Archivist Shares His Pride for 'The Real Rainbow Row' 06/22/2023

Check out this interview with Harlan Greene about his work on Charleston's LGBTQ history.

College Archivist Shares His Pride for 'The Real Rainbow Row' Growing up gay in Charleston, Harlan Greene says it would have been comforting to know that he wasn’t alone. “I would have felt less isolated if I’d known that people like me lived in the Lowcountry even before European settlement and other q***r people had made the city what it is today,” s...

Photos from Pearlstine/Lipov Center for Southern Jewish Culture's post 06/02/2023

Days 15-17: Amsterdam’s Jewish quarter, the Anne Frank House, a boat tour with Afro-Dutch scholar, Jennifer Tosch, and lots of farewells.

Photos from Pearlstine/Lipov Center for Southern Jewish Culture's post 06/01/2023

Day 14: a morning in Weimar.

Photos from Pearlstine/Lipov Center for Southern Jewish Culture's post 05/29/2023

Day 12: Full day visit to Buchenwald, one of the earlier concentration camps to be established in Germany.

Photos from Pearlstine/Lipov Center for Southern Jewish Culture's post 05/28/2023

Day 11: a visit to the Ravensbruck women’s concentration camp.

Photos from Pearlstine/Lipov Center for Southern Jewish Culture's post 05/27/2023

Days 8-10: Berlin and Wannsee.

Photos from Pearlstine/Lipov Center for Southern Jewish Culture's post 05/24/2023

Day 9: we said goodbye to Warsaw, visited Treblinka (one of six extermination camps), and are now Berlin-bound.

Photos from Pearlstine/Lipov Center for Southern Jewish Culture's post 05/24/2023

Days 7 and 8: Warsaw: city tour, Warsaw ghetto uprising, Polin Museum, Chopin House, Warsaw University, old city and Liszinski Park.

Photos from Pearlstine/Lipov Center for Southern Jewish Culture's post 05/22/2023

Day “I’ve lost track”: Łódź cemetery and Chelmno, one of 6 extermination camps in operation during the Holocaust.

Photos from Pearlstine/Lipov Center for Southern Jewish Culture's post 05/20/2023

Day 4: Kielce (sight of the 1946 pogrom) and first night in Łódź

Photos from Pearlstine/Lipov Center for Southern Jewish Culture's post 05/19/2023

Day 3: Krakow, the Museum of Poles Saving Jews (Markowa, Poland), and an evening in Rzeszow.

Photos from Pearlstine/Lipov Center for Southern Jewish Culture's post 05/17/2023

Day 2 of our study abroad trip included a visit to Auschwitz I and Auschwitz-Birkenau followed by a debriefing session with the director of the Zucker/Goldberg Center for Holocaust Studies, Prof. Chad Gibbs.


The Pearlstine/Lipov Center for Southern Jewish Culture is on the road from May 15-June 2. We are participating in the CofC study abroad program in Poland, Germany, and the Netherlands. Be sure to follow us on our journey as we make our way across Europe over the next few weeks.

Photos from Pearlstine/Lipov Center for Southern Jewish Culture's post 05/17/2023

First day in Krakow was a total success.

SJHS Grants & Applications | Southern Jewish Historical Society 04/22/2023

SJHS Grants & Applications | Southern Jewish Historical Society The SJHS Grants Committee is now accepting applications for the 2023 cycle, and the deadline has changed. Grant applications will now be accepted in the spring so that summer projects can be funded. The 2023 deadline has been extended to May 1, and grantees will receive notification before June 1. S...


It's not too late to apply for a Southern Jewish Historical Society grant for projects related to southern Jewish history. The deadline has been extended until May 1, 2023.

Jewish soldiers held a makeshift Seder in the middle of the Civil War 04/06/2023

"'I love this story from a Jewish perspective especially because this is a bunch of teenage boys,' said Victoria Tolson of Civil War Trails. 'They’re away from their community, they’ve never done a Seder before, and they totally mess it up....'

Soon, the Passover Seder devolved into something closer to a Purim celebration — meaning they got very drunk. And rather than reading the story of the Jews escaping Egypt, some of them began to act it out.

'Those that drank more freely became excited and one thought he was Moses, another Aaron, and one had the audacity to call himself a Pharaoh. The consequence was a skirmish, with nobody hurt, only Moses, Aaron and Pharaoh had to be carried to the camp, and there left in the arms of Morpheus,' Joel wrote."

Jewish soldiers held a makeshift Seder in the middle of the Civil War Union soldiers improvised a Passover celebration near what's now Fayetteville, W.Va. They're being honored with a sign at the approximate site.


Happy Passover from those of us at the Pearlstine/Lipov Center for Southern Jewish Culture!


Join us April 29-30th for the annual JHSSC meeting in Charleston! We'll have author Sarah Wildman joining us April 29th and then a conversation on the 30th with Dr. Gibbs, Grace Shaffer, and our very own Leah Davenport.

The Wandering Womb: Essays in Search of Home 03/28/2023

We are looking forward to welcoming author S. L. Wisenberg to Charleston this Sunday (4/2) at 10AM for a conversation about her latest book, The Wandering Womb, over brunch. If you'd like to learn more about her work, check out this recent book review:

The Wandering Womb: Essays in Search of Home Did you know the mikvah is supposed to be built even before the temple in a Jewish community?


Be sure to join us this Wednesday for a talk by Father Desbois in the Rita Liddy Hollings Science Center Room 101 at 6:oo PM.

Don't miss it!


Don't miss the opportunity tomorrow night to hear Father Patrick Desbois speak at CofC.

Be sure to join us this Wednesday for a talk by Father Desbois in the Rita Liddy Hollings Science Center Room 101 at 6:oo PM.

Don't miss it!


This week, we're reading an article by Pearlstine/Lipov's very own Leah Davenport! The Southern Jewish Historical Society of South Carolina's Spring Magazine is officially out, and focuses on letters to and from Europe and the United States during the Holocaust.

You can view it here:


It's that time of the year! We are now taking applications for 2023-2024 Charleston Research Fellowships.

Photos from Pearlstine/Lipov Center for Southern Jewish Culture's post 02/01/2023

We are excited to welcome our two newest Charleston Research Fellows, Margaret Norman and Andrew Sperling, to CofC! Both fellows are in residence this week conducting research in the Jewish Heritage Collection in Special Collections at the College of Charleston. For more information about Charleston Research Fellowships, visit our website:

Margaret Weinberg Norman, MA
Director of Programming and Engagement
Temple Beth El
January 2023

As part of Margaret’s current role at Temple Beth El in Birmingham, Alabama she oversees the development of the Beth El Civil Rights Experience, a multimedia project exploring the intersections of Birmingham’s Jewish and civil rights histories. She has been developing this project since August 2020, and during that time also completed her M.A in American Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill. Her thesis, “Convergences: Remembering and Recounting the Civil Rights Movement Through the Story of Nineteen Rabbis in Birmingham, Alabama, 1963,” explores collective memory and storytelling regarding the civil rights movement by Birmingham’s Jewish community, as well as by a group of rabbis who arrived at the height of the city’s civil rights demonstrations. Margaret is looking forward to using her time in Charleston to explore congregational and institutional papers (such as the Jewish Community Relations Committee), as well as oral histories and family papers from the classic civil rights era. Her goal is to understand actions and reactions, as well as memories of the civil rights era, within Charleston’s Jewish community, and to do comparative study between Birmingham and Charleston.

Margaret received her B.A in Individualized Study from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. Prior to work at Temple Beth El she spent time in the world of food and farming and has a forthcoming piece this year on the rise of Jewish agrarianism in North America. She’s also worked on public history and documentary projects for the Jefferson County Memorial Project, Red Mountain Park, the Southern Foodways Alliance and the Institute of Southern Jewish Life.

Andrew Sperling, PhD Candidate
American University
January 2023

Andrew Sperling’s dissertation, “American Jews Against Antisemitic Extremism,” follows the responses of American Jewish communities to forms of right-wing extremist antisemitism between the 1920s and 1960s. This project aims to trace the evolving strategies Jews used against hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, German-American Bund, Silver Shirts, and the American N**i Party. The discussions and debates Jews held within their own communities and with the larger American public helps us understand effective tactics against contemporary extremist movements. Sperling is eager to conduct research at the College of Charleston, where he will consult the Charleston Jewish Community Relations Committee Papers, the William Vincent Moore Papers, and other collections related to Southern antisemitism and racism.

Andrew Sperling is currently a PhD candidate in History at American University in Washington, D.C. He earned his M.A. in History in 2019, and his B.A. in English literature in 2016, both from North Carolina State University. In support of his dissertation project, he has received fellowships and grants from the American Jewish Archives, the Upper Midwest Jewish Archives, and the American Academy for Jewish Research.

Photos from Pearlstine/Lipov Center for Southern Jewish Culture's post 01/25/2023

We had a great time listening to Dr. Butwin talk about his family’s history this past Sunday! We hope you will join us for the next Sunday Brunch on April 2 featuring author S.L. Wisenberg.

Martin Perlmutter, longtime director of Jewish Studies at CofC, dies at 79 01/16/2023

It is with a very heavy heart that we share with you the passing of Marty Perlmutter, the longtime former director of the Jewish Studies Program and founder of the Pearlstine/Lipov Center for Southern Jewish Culture.

Marty joined the College in 1979 as a member of the Department of Philosophy and in 1983 became chair of the department. In 1991, Marty agreed, after much convincing, to take over the lead of the Jewish Studies Program, in addition to teaching philosophy courses.

Over the years, his leadership of Jewish Studies took precedence, and he became the full-time director of the program. The Jewish Studies Program grew in size and significance under his leadership. Many on campus and in the Jewish community remarked on his visionary leadership, especially his compassion and heart of gold.

“With the passing of Director Emeritus Marty Perlmutter, the College of Charleston has lost an iconic figure in the institution’s history. Marty was a gifted teacher, philosophy scholar and longtime leader of the Jewish studies program during his tenure at the College, from 1979 to 2019. He did a remarkable job connecting the Jewish community to our campus, and we are proud that the College’s kosher/vegetarian/vegan dining facility bears his name. He will be sorely missed, but his legacy lives on,” said President Andrew Hsu.

Marty is survived by his wife, Jeri, and four children, Jake, Aaron, Daniel and Estee.

The funeral is set for Tuesday, January 17 at Beth Elohim Cemetery on Huguenin Avenue in Charleston at 2:00 p.m. It is open to the public.

Martin Perlmutter, longtime director of Jewish Studies at CofC, dies at 79 Perlmutter started as a philosophy professor but became a prominent administrator at the College of Charleston, developing the Jewish Studies Program into a nationally known powerhouse.


This weekend, we took advantage of the cold weather and cozied up with “The Real Rainbow Row” by CofC’s very own Harlan Greene! If you’d wish to hear Harlan talk about history of q***r Charleston, join us on January 18th at 6 pm in RITA room 101!


Join us on Sunday the 22nd for our first Sunday brunch of the spring semester with Dr. Joe Butwin! Frances Mazo Butwin, Dr. Butwin's mother, private papers -- letters, diaries, snapshots, unpublished fiction -- entered an archive and the question becomes now, how does their relevance, meaning, and status all shift from what they may have meant to the author?

This talk will examine that transfer of meaning with particular attention to Frances Mazo Butwin, a woman whose documentary history begins as Frania (in Polish or Freydl in Yiddish) Mazo in Warsaw with diaries written shortly after the First World War when her family emigrated to Charleston to live above a delicatessen on King Street. At the College of Charleston she edited the literary Magazine (as it was called) and began a lengthy correspondence with Julius Butwin whom she would marry and join in Minneapolis-St. Paul where they were active on the political left in the 1930s, owned a bookstore and together translated the Yiddish fiction of Sholom Aleichem in the early ‘40s. Julius died in 1945.

As always, join us at 9 am for brunch, followed by the talk at 10 am. This is a hybrid event, with the link for the Zoom registration as follows:

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