I am an Irish girl from Brooklyn who has happily lived in South Carolina for 22 years, savoring so many wonderful aspects of this state: the people, the arts, its history and locales.
I explore through day trips with a destination in mind. I’ve taken 26 so far, with more to come. There is much to be proud of, but it is the citizens and what they accomplish as a group that comes to mind first.
Today, I am beyond proud and actually stunned by what a community in Sumter has done for our state.
Our nation is at a crossroads, and learning history and how it affects today is so very needed for each of us.
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There is a temple in Sumter, built in 1913, that watched its congregation dwindle and decided to act and become an integral part of our society again. The visionary was Roger Ackerman, who created a team that put together a plan to impact future generations, no matter the faith or color of each person. Their project brings pride to our entire state as well.
Sumter has given South Carolina its only Holocaust museum. In fact, it is the only one between Richmond and Atlanta.
The Temple Sinai Jewish History Center is new and quite remarkable. The installation was managed by Sumter’s History Museum; executive director Annie Rivers joined hands with this congregation and the people of Sumter to provide the state, parents and teachers with impactful lessons created to appeal to all faiths and ages. It is indeed a destination.
We all need to understand what we are facing today, and it’s a rare treat to be able to visit this temple and see visuals, audios and artifacts well-explained. If we try to understand another’s religion and its travails, we may more easily tolerate all faiths.
This museum and center will bring more travelers to our state. More importantly, it helps us see clearly why understanding the world’s past is the only way to our best future.
It is open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, but call (803) 775-0908 for hours or tours.
Mary Ellen Donovan Fuller
The State publishes a cross section of the letters we receive from South Carolinians in order to provide a forum for our community and also to allow our community to get a good look at itself, for good or bad. The letters represent the views of the letter writers, not necessarily of The State.