REFORM AT KKBE SYNAGOGUE AND THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT: ACTIVISM, CONFLICT, AND THE FIGHT FOR EQUALITY
As the Civil Rights Movement spread rapidly throughout the South it would eventually make its way to Charleston, South Carolina. Southern Reform rabbis were actively supporting and working to assist the Civil Rights Movement alongside major African American activists. When the Civil Rights Movement hit Charleston, many key figures were tenaciously fighting for desegregation and voting rights. Their vision and hard work would eventually pay off as African Americans broke down racial barriers. Reform Judaism, specifically Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim (KKBE) in Charleston, South Carolina, set itself apart from other sects of Judaism because of its liberal tenants of social justice and equality. Congregants, especially the rabbinate, played an active role in the Civil Rights Movement in Charleston because of their Reform ideals. Under the leadership of Rabbi Burton Padoll at KKBE, he adhered to the teachings of Reform Judaism and fought for civil rights despite pushback from certain members. Padoll used his voice in Charleston to stress the importance of civil rights to his congregation and the community from his position as a Reform Jew and he made it clear that civil rights was a pivotal issue to address for equality for all African American men and women.