Congregation Kadosh Beth Elohim was founded in 1749 and is the 4th oldest in the nation. On wiki it says the Greek Revival building is the 2nd oldest in continual use while their pamphlet from the synagogue says it’s the oldest. Sometimes they are considered the place where Reformed Judaism was born when individuals split from the group in the mid 1800s. This new belief system spread and became the dominant belief system of American Jews. More that 90% of American synagogues were Reform by 1880.
The current building was built 1840-1841 by a David Lopez. In the foyer are 4 of the original 14 dedication stones from the 1794 temple. The iron fence in front of the temple grounds date back to 1819.
It had a fairly churchy feel like the temple we visited in Savannah,GA.
The majority of early Southern Jewish communities were Sephardic from London and the Netherlands seeking religious freedom. They were in London and the Netherlands after Spain and Portugal expulsed them in the late 15th century.
Some of the founders of this congregation migrated north from Georgia after the colony was invaded by Spanish forces. They feared another Inquisition.
If you are interested in new world Jewish history, the temple in Savannah recommended The First Jews in the New World: The Dramatic Odyssey of the Early Jews into the Western Hemisphere to read. It’s about the inquisition and their eventual migration across the Atlantic looking for a home where they could practice freely. Even in the new world they ended up fleeing the same challenges and persecution as the old world.
Volunteer guides offer tours 6 days a week.