Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Judaism in Appalachia

Image of the Beth-Ha-Tephila Congregation of Asheville, North Carolina
(From the University of North Carolina at Asheville D.H. Ramsey Library Special Collections/University Archives)


When people from outside of the region think of Appalachia , four religious denominations usually come to mind: Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, and Pentecostal variants of Protestant Christianity. Occasionally Roman Catholicism comes to mind as well, though far less frequently. Of course, those of us who are from Appalachia, and particularly the towns and cities thereof, know that while these denominations are very widespread, there are many others that carry substantial weight in the region as well. Among these are the various strains of Judaism (Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform Judaism).
Judaism came to Appalachia in a few waves. The earliest Jewish folk came as part of the first wave of German settlers, very early into the European settlement of the region. Later Jewish immigrants followed largely as part of waves of immigrants from Eastern Europe, though other families followed later as modern industries and service entries spread through the region. In other words, Jewish Appalachians followed, by and large, the same immigration patterns as did Appalachians of other faiths.
I won't go into much more depth on Appalachian Judaism - I lack the expertise, frankly, on this niche of history. But I decided that I would do some web-searching last night and came up with a list of links that, frankly, makes me a little proud. Thus I present (sound effect: drum roll) a list of sites on Jewish history in the region, as well as links to Jewish communities.

Sites on Judaism in Appalachia

History of Jews in Tennessee
Jewish Communities in West Virginia
Jewish Life in Kentucky
Jewish Tour of the Carolinas
The Metro Pulse "Separate But Not Apart"
Saving Monticello
Southern Jewish Historical Society
Small Synagogues "Where Coal Was King: Synagogues of Southwestern West Virginia"
The University of North Carolina - Asheville's Jewish Life in Western North Carolina
The University of Virginia - "To Seek the Peace of the City: Early Jewish Settlement in Charlottesville:
West Virginia History "The Jews of Clarksburg"
West Virginia Jewish History & Genealogy

Appalachian Jewish Congregations

Asheville, North Carolina - Congregation Beth HaTephila
Asheville, North Carolina - Congregation Beth Israel
Beckley, West Virginia - Temple Beth-El
Blacksburg, Virginia - Blacksburg Jewish Community Center
Blacksburg, Virginia - Virginia Tech Hillel
Blountville, Tennessee - B'nai Sholom Congregation
Bluefield, West Virginia - Congregation Ahavath Shalom
Central Kentucky Jewish Federation
Charleston, West Virginia - Congregation B'nai Israel
Charleston, West Virginia - Congregation B'nai Jacob
Charlottesville, Virginia - Congregation Beth Israel
Charlottesville, Virginia - University of Virginia Hillel
Chattanooga, Tennessee - Congregation Beth Shalom
Chattanooga, Tennessee - B'nai Zion Congregation
Chattanooga, Tennessee - Jewish Community Federation of Greater Chattanooga
Chattanooga, Tennessee - Mizpah Congregation
Harrisonburg, Virginia - Beth El Congregation
Harrisonburg, Virginia - James Madison University Hillel
Huntington, West Virginia - B'nai Sholom Congregation
Knoxville, Tennessee - Chabad of Knoxville
Knoxville, Tennessee - Heska Amuna Synagogue
Knoxville, Tennessee - Knoxville Jewish Alliance
Knoxville, Tennessee - Temple Beth El
Lexington, Kentucky - Havurah
Lexington, Kentucky - Ohavay Zion Synagogue
Lexington, Kentucky - Temple Adath Israel
Lexington, Virginia - Washington & Lee University Hillel
Morgantown, West Virginia - Tree of Life Congregation
Oak Ridge, Tennessee - Jewish Congregation of Oak Ridge
Parkersburg, West Virginia - B'nai Israel
Roanoke, Virginia - Beth Israel Synagogue
Roanoke, Virginia - Temple Emanuel
Wheeling, West Virginia - Temple Shalom

Enjoy.

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