Explore Jewish Life in Greenville
Greenville, once a small market town on the coastal plain, has transformed into a growing college town with the expansion of East Carolina University and founding of its medical complex. Although an occasional Jewish peddler or storekeeper resided in town as early as antebellum days, the community’s future was secured when the extended Brody family arrived from South Carolina in 1936. As entrepreneurs and philanthropists, they endowed the Brody School of Medicine at ECU. With Jewish professionals drawn to town by the university and medical center, Greenville supports a growing, diverse Jewish community. Bayt Shalom congregation, founded in 1975, first met in churches, then a renovated house before dedicating its synagogue in 1993.
As the town’s lone congregation, Bayt Shalom holds affiliation with both the Reform and Conservative movements. With more families arriving, the congregation has a resident rabbi and maintains an active religious school.
The Institute for Southern Jewish Life traces how the university’s growth has spawned an innovative, independent Jewish community, which was once served by the world’s first African-American female ordained rabbi.