By Angel Rose Tinnirello
Although Stanley B. Farbstein passed on two years ago, his legacy will live on for members of Beth Israel Congregation and the Jewish community in Beaufort. Born in 1925, Farbstein joined Beth Israel during a pivotal moment in the community – more than a century after a Jewish community had formed in Beaufort, but just 20 years after the Congregation had been chartered and incorporated in 1905.
A resident of Beaufort and Charleston, Mr. Farbstein was a member of Beth Israel and served as a Board Member of the Congregation. As a Board Member of the Jewish Historical Society, he devoted himself to documenting the lives of those buried at Beth Israel Cemetery at 906 Bladen Street in Beaufort. He was also a member of B’nai B’rith (now known as BBYO) and on the Advisory Board for the Yaschik/Arnold Studies Program at the College of Charleston.
Thanks to funding from the Stanley B. Farbstein Endowment, the Jewish Endowment Fund of Coastal Community Foundation granted more than $74,000 to organizations focused on Jewish history and culture in Beaufort and Charleston this year. The Endowment will contribute to the success of Beth Israel’s Congregation by covering insurance premiums for the historic Synagogue, the 19th Century Torahs (which were transported to America by Beth Israel founders) as well as the Rabbi’s lodging; all of which make up more than 20 percent of the Congregation’s annual budget. The grant will also contribute to the fund for the Congregation’s Rabbi.
Mr. Farbstein’s dedication to the local Jewish community is also evident in another act of generosity. In addition to grant funding received from the Jewish Endowment Fund, Mr. Farbstein’s estate is tied to Beth Israel through a separate endowment created from his estate to fund repairs and capital improvements needed to maintain historic Beth Israel Synagogue, built in 1907.
Nearly 40 Congregation members regularly volunteer their time with Beth Israel; however, this number does not fully speak to the culture that Beth Israel has developed within Beaufort. According to Dr. Charles H. Kresch, past president of Beth Israel, recently “a Bat Mitzvah and a Bar Mitzvah were held on the same weekend at Beth Israel Synagogue during which the 19th century Torahs were used. The young lady was the fifth generation of a founding Beth Israel member to celebrate Life Cycle events in the historic Synagogue. The young man was a recent immigrant from Israel who had moved to the area.”
Beth Israel has been the center of Jewish life in Beaufort County for over a century. The Stanley B. Farbstein Endowment now honors Beth Israel Congregation and celebrates the Jewish institutions which were so important to him during his lifetime.