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Special Thanks to our Sisterhood Historian, Lois Sugarman, for providing this in-depth article.

Our Sisterhood roots go back to 1838 when a group of women (principally Sally Lopez and Penina Moise) organized a school to teach children of the congregation about Judaism and Jewish heritage.  The group was called The Society for the Instruction of Hebrew Doctrine. The school became the second Sunday School in America. 

In 1844, a more formal women’s group was created to allow women a greater role in congregational and community life. Thus began the Hebrew Ladies' Sewing Circle, the first organized Sisterhood in America.

Our affiliation with the Union of Reform Judaism began on November 2, 1873 and our affiliation with the Women of Reform Judaism dates back to December 5, 1916. With the organization of the Temple Guild sisterhood, the female members of the congregation, stepped forward to provide support in immeasurable ways - from a simple meal for a bereaved family, to organizing and supporting our Religious School, to significant Capital Campaign contributions and gifts for our B’nai Mitzvah celebrants who are reaching an important milestone in their lives.

One extraordinary memory is the 150th anniversary of Sisterhood’s birthday making it the oldest Reform Sisterhood in the United States. The Spirituality Weekend was held September 8-10, 1995.   Patricia Rones Sykes was president of Sisterhood at the time. Of unmistakable importance, there was a new Torah dedicated during that weekend

Sisterhood continues to impact our youth worldwide, our local community and our congregants in many ways.

In addition to providing funds for camperships to Camp Coleman, we have donated one hundred copies of Mishkan T’filah, our prayer book used in services, and continually purchase large equipment and small wares for our Mildred Bernstein Kitchen. 

Our Chosen Treasures Gift Shop is our largest provider of funds needed for the ongoing work of our Sisterhood.

Our Women’s Seder is a highlight of our year.  Many of our members are tour guides and fulfill other ongoing acts of kindness by caring for our congregants with phone calls and visits to those in our community. 

*Charleston’s Jewish Journal was a source for Lois Sugarman’s research. 

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