Explore Jewish Life in Winston-Salem

Jewish life in Winston-Salem, NC

Winston-Salem in the state’s Piedmont was once known for textiles and tobacco, but now is a thriving center for the arts, medicine, and academia. The Jewish community follows the trajectory of the city’s economy with immigrant merchants arriving in the 1880s establishing first an Orthodox congregation and then in 1932, a Reform group breaking away to form Temple Emanuel. Today, professionals are drawn in growing numbers to the city’s medical centers as well as to the campuses of Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem State, Salem College, and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

As the city’s lone synagogue, Temple Emanuel prides itself on being inclusive, the gathering place for Jews regardless of identity or background. The Reform congregation now claims over 280 membership families in expanded facilities.

The Institute of Southern Jewish Life documents Winston-Salem’s tumultuous early history until a mercantile community formed. Never large, Winston-Salem Jewry now has an active, thriving community.

Wake Forest offers a minor in Jewish Studies and maintains an Office of Jewish Life as well as a Hillel program.