Sign In Forgot Password

From Sonya Livingston

*My mother Evelene Livingston was a former sisterhood president. I still have her speeches and notes.

Charlotte Karesh loved to tell the stories of their going to regional conferences and meetings. It seemed mother went a bit over the speed limit!

*Mother originated the only kosher chefs feast ever held in Charleston.

She gathered the diverse group of chefs from Charleston's leading restaurants to use their skills to cook a kosher meal. Together they used their talents and resources to achieve this monumental task.

The kitchen was shut down at the Embassy Suites Convention Center  in North Charleston for two weeks, Under the watchful eye of our Rabbi Zionce every kosher aspect was fulfilled from food, wine,pots, pans, dishes and flatware. The chefs were thrilled to be a part of this huge challenge. It was a sold out affair.

Mother brought in the chefs she and her dear friend  Chef Robert Carter of the Peninsula Grill  gathered for the grand opening of  the Embassy Suites Hotel for The Chefs Feast for Hunger Relief which benefited  The Lowcountry Food Bank in 1999

Today it is still one of their largest annual fundraisers.

The Kosher Chefs Feast was originated to honor Dr.Ray Greenberg, former president of MUSC and Emanuel congregant.

Being two of the earliest Bat Mitzvahs at our synagogue,

Marcia Bernstein Shealey and I grew up  attending  Friday night and  Saturday services and Sunday  school.

We enjoyed having our haftorahs taught by Reverend David Sherman who instilled in us that practice makes perfect. We were his students and  it was as if he was preparing us to accept the Nobel Peace Prize!!

Marcias Bat Mitzvah was in October 1965 and mine was January 1966. Our greatest surprise came with  compliments from Rabbi Taxon who  was not an easy man to impress. Marcia and I went on to be confirmed together and today  are still the very best of friends. We still speak of childhood memories from shul and cherish  our friendship that was nurtured in synagogue.

Etz Chayim Hi was always my parents favorite tune. It was a formidable part for  us in every service. As a Bat Mitzvah turning around after returning the Torah to the ark I saw the light, pride and joy on my parents faces. I feel it to this day when I hear it being sung in synagogues around the world.

Marcias  father and mine  grew up together in Charleston.

Later in life it was her  mother and father Bernice and Maurice Bernstein who sat in front of us for daily minyan and comforted my mother and I  following the passing of my father and brother, all of blessed memory.

I use to think of the synagogue as a  full circle through the seasons of life.

Our sanctuary on Gordon Street held a great deal of reverence under the guard of Miss Aunt Anita Steinberg. 

My brother and I believed it was a well known fact that she indeed had eyes in the back of her head. She was the "OG" old guard of the "synagogue" as she would say.

On Gordon Street service were always full. The synagogue had a long aisle and it was so majestic to see the Rabbi and Cantor in their long white robes and toque headwear. Everyone wore their best to shul and the prime seats were next to the the aisle.  Watching the Torahs taken out of our beautiful ark was a sight to behold.

*After Hurricane Hugo services were held in our damaged synagogue. We changed seats every so often as the roof was leaking. Somehow my memory recalls the prayers and singing were louder in the aftermath perhaps filled with eternal gratitude.

I attended Charleston Hebrew Institute from nursery graduating in seventh grade. Rituals, Rashi, Torah and traditions were instilled in us. 

I was elated to attend Synagogue Emanuel where I could sit next to my father and feel his Tallit. It made me feel that all was right with the world,our family  and Hashem.

Sat, July 13 2024 7 Tammuz 5784