Charlotte, the state’s largest city, is home to its largest Jewish community with some 15,000 Jews. Though Jews have been present since the Early Republic, and later supported the Confederacy, the community was small until the rise of the industrial New South. With the Sunbelt Charlotte has become a global banking center. The community features Shalom Park, a 54 acre campus that houses synagogues, day schools, camps, a JCC, family services, Holocaust center, and federation offices to serve a diverse, rapidly growing Jewish population.

Since opening in 1986, Shalom Park has been the central Jewish address for metro Charlotte. Whether a Jewish preschool or cultural arts, swimming lessons or Torah study, the Park features facilities for Jews of every need, interest, and persuasion. It is also home of the Butterfly Project Holocaust memorial.

The Institute for Southern Jewish Life history highlights Charlotte’s colorful community members including the inimitable wise-cracking, journalist Harry Golden, whose civil-rights advocacy made him a national celebrity. Philanthropists Leon and Sandra Levine and I. D. and Herman Blumenthal have endowed major civic institutions as well as Jewish ones.

Queens University hosts the Center with a focus on Jewish studies and Holocaust education as well as social justice, human rights, and interfaith understanding. Its programming features community outreach as well as academic courses.