Jewish Heritage North Carolina Projects

Down Home is a multimedia project that could not have come to fruition without the leadership of former Governor Jim Hunt, Jr.  as honorary chair. “The Down Home project will acquaint millions of our citizens, both children and adults, with Jewish values and beliefs…. It will help to develop acceptance, tolerance and respect amongst our citizens.”

The Down Home Project

For more than three centuries North Carolina has welcomed Jews with hospitality and opportunity. And Jews, often escaping poverty and persecution, have brought their energy and talents to their new homelands. As peddlers in the countryside, storekeepers in small towns, and industrialists in emerging cities, Jews helped create the prosperity that has made North Carolina a leader of the New South. Committed to faith, family, and community, Jews have endowed hospitals, educated our youth, and led the struggle for racial and social justice.

Along the way, they themselves were transformed as Jewish culture and traditions encountered Southern customs and manners. North Carolina Jews grounded their lives in timeless values– family, community, faith, learning—but here these values took on new meanings and inflections that blended past and present. Yet, despite their remarkable contributions to our state, the Jewish story remains little known and largely untold.

All this and more is detailed in a lively informative style with personal stories and humorous tales. Down Home: Jewish Life in North Carolina is a hallmark multimedia project of Jewish Heritage North Carolina which has woven these stories to create a traveling museum exhibition, documentary film, book, and school curriculum.

The Down Home Project: History of Jews in North Carolina

Down Home Digital Exhibit

Jews in North Carolina have built lives around contradictions—rooted in Carolina soil yet tied to a global community, embracing the here and now yet reaching back to ancient traditions.

Down Home Film

This richly textured documentary consists of oral histories, interviews with noted historians, rarely seen photographs and engaging re-enactments.

Down Home Book

This beautifully illustrated volume from the University of North Carolina Press incorporates oral histories, historical documents, and profiles of fascinating individuals.

Down Home Cantata

The cantata is an original musical score featuring historic audio recordings from Jewish Heritage North Carolina’s archives.

School Curriculum

Jewish Heritage North Carolina created  4th and 8th grade public school curriculum materials. Videos explore immigration, ethnic differences, tolerance and integration into the North Carolina populace.

Down Home Archives

The David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Perkins Library, Duke University, Durham holds Jewish Heritage North Carolina’s collection. It includes synagogue records, family and community papers, historic family and community photographs, and oral and video histories.