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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Small Town Synagogues In North Carolina

Just a quick posting today regarding some small synagogues in North Carolina... Gastonia, Rocky Mount and Statesville. Three buildings that are each beautiful and important in their own right. Gastonia, North Carolina is the home of Temple Emanuel, a small Reform synagogue, that continues to represent the Jewish Community with vigor. A classical-revival style synagogue that is located on a busy street corner, the congregation was founded in 1913 as the Hebrew Congregation of Gastonia. The current synagogue was built in 1929.


Rocky Mount is home to Temple Beth El a very small Reform congregation, that unfortunately, has seen better days in terms of membership and activity. What was once a vibrant mid-sized Jewish congregation, is now a proud, but almost disappearing congregation. This is an all too present situation in many small towns across the USA. Declines in manufacturing, retailing and changing demographic patters have affected once vibrant Jewish Communities. Temple Beth El is a modest, but nice brick synagogue designed in a somewhat modern style with some traditional architectural touches and beautiful stained glass windows. Founded ca. 1921, the present synagogue dates to 1949.


Statesville, North Carolina is home to the one of the oldest synagogue structures in the state. Congregation Emanuel is located in a quiet residential area hear downtown. Established in 1883, the present building was designed in the Romanesque-Revival style and dedicated in 1892. It is beautifully maintained. Today, Congregational Emanuel is a small vibrant congregation that continues to represent Judaism in Statesville.

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