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Daughters of the American Revolution Award Grant to KKBE for Coming St. Cemetery Restoration
The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) has announced that the organization will donate $10,000.00 to Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim (KKBE) for the Coming Street Cemetery Restoration project. Funding for this project was made possible through the sponsorship of the Sumter’s Home Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, located in Sumter, SC.
Jews have lived in Charleston, South Carolina since 1695, twenty-five years after the founding of the colony. By 1749 the community was numerous enough to organize a Jewish congregation, Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim (KKBE). In 1764 this small Jewish congregation acquired a common burial ground, the historic Coming Street Cemetery. Within the cemetery’s historic walls lie the remains of many notable Jewish Charlestonians, including eleven soldiers who fought in the American Revolution. The walls and tombstones have been ravaged by the effects of time, earthquakes, adjoining modern construction, the power of tree roots, pollution and vandalism. This pre-Revolutionary graveyard comprises nearly an acre of land in the midst of one of Charleston’s residential districts. While KKBE strives to maintain the Coming Street Cemetery, the cost to restore and preserve the cemetery with historical accuracy is beyond the means of just the Jewish community.
The DAR grant will be used over the next year for wall restoration and repair of the Revolutionary graves. The repairs needed for each grave vary, but may involve tree root removal, extensive box tomb rebuilding, cleaning and repair with restoration mortar. The original boundary walls constructed by 18th century craftsmen are severely compromised with significant through-wall cracks which now present an urgent danger to the very graves they have protected for centuries. Although additional funding will be needed to completely restore and preserve the cemetery, this generous DAR grant is key to accomplishing the next phase.
Anita Rosenberg, President of the KKBE Board said, “We are extremely grateful to the DAR for this generous grant. We feel quite fortunate that they have chosen to assist us in restoring and preserving the Revolutionary graves and surroundings in the Coming Street Cemetery. It is an unique element of Charleston’s history during the American Revolution.
KKBE is a Reform Jewish congregation located at 90 Hasell St. in Charleston. It has a three-fold mission to promote lifelong Jewish learning, inclusive communal worship and a commitment to social action through giving to various Charleston organizations such as Crisis Ministries, Star Gospel Mission, HALOS and Meeting Street Academy. More information on KKBE’s history and the Coming Street Cemetery is available on www.kkbe.org. If you are interested in a tour of the Coming Street Cemetery, please contact the KKBE office, 843-723-0537.