Historic Markers Across South Carolina

Tree of Life Synagogue

Marker ID: SCHM 40-192
Location: 100 Woodrow Street, Columbia, SC
County: Richland
Coordinates: N 33° 59.46    W 081° 0.371
  33.991    -81.00618333
Style: Free Standing **


Tree of Life Synagogue

In 1896 members of 18 Jewish families assembled to worship at the Independent Fire Company’s station overlooking Sidney Park. Organized as Etz Chayim (Tree of Life), this group’s members embraced Judaism’s Reform branch or liberal movement. In 1907, members moved into the first temple built in Columbia since the Civil War. Located at 1320 Lady St., the synagogue was paid for by funds raised by local Jewish citizens. To meet the needs of their growing congregation, Tree of Life members began making plans for a new synagogue in 1950. Following a design by Columbia firm LBC&W, M.B. Kahn Construction erected a modern temple in 1952. The highly-touted, contemporary building was a unique addition to the Shandon neighborhood. The Reform congregation worshipped here until 1986, when members relocated to a new synagogue in Forest Acres.

2016 by Historic Columbia, Columbia Jewish Heritage Initiative,
and Jewish Historical Society of SC.