Cemetery of Beth Elohim, Charleston, SC
Early American Jewish Cemetery
Congregation Beth Elohim Unveh Shalom (House of God and Abode of Peace) was formed in 1750 as a Sephardic Orthodox congregation. The congregation relocated in 1757, 1764, and 1780, meeting through these years in a series of converted houses. The first officers of the synagogue were Moses Cohen (rabbi), Isaac DaCosta (hazzan), Joseph Tobias (parnas/president), and Michael Lazarus (secretary). The congregation was officially incorporated by the South Carolina legislature in 1791, after the constitution officially allowed for "free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship." Its members founded the first American Hebrew Benevolent Society in 1784, the first American Hebrew Orphan Society in 1801, and the second American supplementary religious school. The Beth Elohim Coming Street Cemetery dates to 1762; it was bought by Beth Elohim in 1764 from the DaCosta family, and it contains ten known graves of Jewish soldiers of the American Revolution.