Welcome to the "Mountain State" of West Virginia!
I will be redesigning this website over the next few months to provide a better viewing experience.....Some of the current pages may not be available during the re-construction. Thanks for your patience.
The first official Jewish settlement in West Virginia was at Wheeling where a Jewish cemetery and informal congregation was established in 1849. At the time it was still the state of Virginia as West Virginia did not become a state until 1863. Jews lived and traded in West Virginia prior to 1849, and as early as the late 18th century, but the official community did not get its start until Congregation L'Shem Shomayim was established in Wheeling in 1849. An earlier Jewish cemetery was established in Charleston in 1836, but the B'nai Israel Congregation in Charleston was only informally organized in 1856 and legally chartered as the "Hebrew Educational Society" in 1873.
Jewish Communities were established throughout the state in Beckley, Bluefield, Charleston, Clarksburg, Fairmont, Huntington, Keystone, Kimball, Logan, Martinsburg, Morgantown, Parkersburg, Weirton, Welch, Wheeling and Williamson. In addition, small numbers of Jews also settled in the towns of Grafton, Harper's Ferry, Keyser, Montgomery, Mount Hope, Oak Hill, Piedmont, Romney, Thomas & other locations. Though the Jewish population of the state has declined over the years, mostly in the coal region of southern West Virginia, dedicated Jewish communities can be found today in Beckley, Bluefield, Charleston, Huntington, Morgantown, Parkersburg & Wheeling. Some of these Jewish communities are small and face a daily struggle to keep Judaism alive in their area. Other Jewish communities are medium to large size and enjoy a stable community life with religious services as well as Jewish community organizations.
West Virginia possesses a rich and varied Jewish past and a bright Jewish present. The Jewish population of the state supports a variety of synagogues, temples and Jewish organizations. There are landmark synagogues, famous & historic businesses, cemeteries and notable families with a long history in the state This website will be an introduction to the Jewish history, Jewish architecture, and Jewish genealogy found in the "Mountain State". It will be a work "in-progress".
Please click on the names below to learn more about West Virginia Jewish Life and History
"CLICK HERE" for a list & contact information for Synagogues and Jewish Organizations
"CLICK HERE" for information on Jewish Cemeteries and links to Burial Listings
"CLICK HERE" for a listing of Archival & Library Collections with WV Jewish Materials
"CLICK HERE" for Interesting Genealogy, West Virginia, Jewish & History links
"CLICK HERE" for a listing of Jewish Settlement in WV by dates
"CLICK HERE" for a listing of Well-Known West Virginia Jews
Jewish West Virginia - Images of America Series
Click cover image for more information
My name is Julian H. Preisler. I live in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia and have been interested in Jewish history in the USA for many years. I am a professional Archivist & Genealogist and have published books on Jewish genealogy & also synagogue architecture and history. If you are interested in West Virginia Jewish history, have a connection to the state, or have materials you wish to share - Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org - I welcome the addition of information, photographs, old business ads, stories and other materials related to WV Jewish life, history and genealogy.
Donations are always welcome in order to help keep this website updated and improved. Please consider a small donation or sponsoring a page or project to help document West Virginia Jewish History. For more information please contact me at email@example.com. I would like to thank all of the wonderful people from all over West Virginia and the United States for contributing information, data, photographs and other images to this project. Your interest in this project is very much appreciated. Together we can all help to discover and document West Virginia Jewish History so that it will be available for future generations. I look forward to receiving continuing suggestions, data and also images to use on the site.
© 2004-2014 - Julian H. Preisler - All Rights Reserved
No material from this website may be used or downloaded without permission