Explore Jewish Life in Gastonia
Gastonia’s mills gave it a reputation as one of the textile capitals of the world. The Jewish community of Gastonia dates to 1892 when an immigrant peddler David Lebovitz, put down roots and opened a store. In the following decades other immigrants arrived, several of whom became prominent textile manufacturers, most notably Frank Goldberg. In 1913 Lebovitz led the effort to create the Hebrew Congregation of Gastonia and fifteen years later, with Goldberg’s support, local Jews dedicated Temple Emanuel, still in use. Although the merchants and industrialists are mostly gone, Jewish professionals have moved into the area, and its vibrant congregation serves a diverse community.
The congregation’s nearly 100 households today draw from a four county area extending to South Carolina. Its services are lay led.
The Institute of Southern Jewish Life highlights the civic role of Gastonia’s Jews including former mayor Leon Schneider and Marshall Rauch, a town councilmen who enjoyed a long tenure in the state senate.