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Temple Sinai (Sumter, South Carolina) facts for kids

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For similarly named synagogues, see Temple Sinai.
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Temple Sinai
Temple Sinai from Church St and Hampton St.JPG
Location 11 Church Street
Sumter, South Carolina
Area less than one acre
Built 1912
Architectural style Moorish Revival
NRHP reference No. 98001645
Added to NRHP January 21, 1999

Temple Sinai is an historic Reform synagogue located at 11 Church Street on the corner of West Hampton Avenue, in Sumter, South Carolina, United States. Built in 1912 of brick in the Moorish Revival style, Temple Sinai was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 21, 1999. It is also known as Congregation Sinai, whose official name is the Sumter Society of Israelites. It also houses the Temple Sinai Jewish History Center which opened in June 2018.


The first Jewish settlers in Sumter were Sephardi who came from Charleston in 1815. Congregation Sinai, whose official name is the Sumter Society of Israelites, was formed in April, 1895, by the merger of the Hebrew Cemetery Society and the Sumter Hebrew Benevolent Society. Visiting rabbis from Charleston and Augusta, Georgia. served the congregation until 1904 when Rabbi Jacob Klein settled in Sumter. The sanctuary of the present temple was built in 1912 facing Church Street to replace an earlier wooden synagogue on the site.

The Barnett Memorial Addition, a two-story brick Moorish Revival auditorium/banquest hall and classroom/office building facing West Hampton Avenue, was built in 1932, behind the sanctuary, which it complements. In 1956, the one story brick Hyman Brody Building was attached to the rear of the Barnett Memorial Addition to provide a kitchen and more classrooms, offices and restrooms. Although simpler than the other two buildings, it still has some Moorish features.

Temple Sinai's archives have been donated to the Jewish Heritage Collection at the College of Charleston.

Stained glass windows

Temple Sinai is noted for the eleven drapery glass stained glass windows on its side and entrance walls, which depict scenes from the Tanakh. With the exception of one round window high over the entrance portico, the windows are uniformly five feet wide by twenty feet high and in their shape mimic the castellated domed Moorish towers that flank the entrance.

Current status

Temple Sinai is still an active reform congregation. It has entered into an agreement with Coastal Community Foundation, Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim Synagogue, and the Charleston Jewish Federation to maintain its cemetery and Temple and to address concerns regarding its long-term viability. Additionally, in 2015, Temple Sinai entered a partnership with the Sumter County Museum to create a permanent exhibit about Jewish history in South Carolina and in Sumter. The museum also includes a section devoted to the Holocaust and Sumter's ties to the Holocaust. Temple Sinai Jewish History Center opened to the public on June 2, 2018.

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