High Point advertises itself as the “Furniture Capital of the World” with an internationally known market. The Jewish community traces to the late nineteenth century when the rapid expansion of factories drew immigrant Jewish peddlers and storekeepers to the booming industrial town, some becoming successful manufacturer themselves. A tightly knit community, Jews prospered and in 1923 organized the High Point Hebrew Congregation, dedicating a synagogue four years later. Like many communities, High Point Jewry grew in the postwar years, and in 1965 opened the expansive B’nai Israel synagogue. With industrial decline, the more than seventy households in today’s Jewish community are less mercantile and more professional, particularly with the growth of High Point University.

In its century long history B’nai Israel has evolved through all the Jewish movements from Orthodoxy, to Conservatism, to Reconstructionism, to Reform.

The Institute of Southern Jewish Life tells the colorful story of High Point’s first Jewish resident, the indigent peddler Lewis Harris who arrived in 1894. Soon more families came who provided leadership for generations.