Jews have settled in mountain communities since the nineteenth century, but lately that movement has accelerated with the arrival of retirees, especially the so-called “halfbacks” who winter in Florida and summer in North Carolina. In the 1890s textile magnate Moses Cone and his wife Bertha established an estate near Blowing Rock which is now a national park. Today Boone, home of Appalachian State University, is a cosmopolitan Jewish center with both summer and all-year residents.   Locally, Jews organized an unaffiliated Boone Jewish Community and a cultural Havurah of the High Country. Today the community focus is the Temple of the High Country, which meets at the Schaefer Jewish Community Center.

In September 2008, the Boone Jewish Community renamed itself the Temple of the High Country. Thanks to the generosity and fundraising efforts of Bonnie and Jame Schaefer, the building serves as both a synagogue and the home of the Schaefer Jewish Community Center.

The Institute of Southern Jewish Life traces Boone’s Jewish communal life to 1974 when a professor organized the Boone Jewish Community. Nearby Moses H. Cone Memorial Park includes the estate house , hiking trails, and family cemetery. Bertha Lindau Cone endowed the training school that became Appalachian State University.

Center for Judaic, Peace, and Holocaust Studies – This Center founded in 2002 at Appalachian State University sponsors lectures, exhibits, and workshops for the community as well as a curriculum for students.