BUILDING HISTORY: Temple of Israel


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Built in 1875 and ’76, the Wilmington’s Temple of Israel is the oldest temple in North Carolina and home to the state’s oldest Jewish congregation.

One-hundred years is quite a history even with in a religion that goes back thousands of years.

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The Temple of Israel at Market and 4th Streets is a beautiful building with a fascinating story to tell.

“I think it has a very positive impression, because it is so beautiful and so unique that people are fascinated by it,” Rabbi Paul Sidlofsky said. “Some people have mistaken it for a mosque, because of the Moorish architecture, so it’s an educational opportunity to teach people about the history of it.”

Sidlofsky is proud of his congregation and its home. The architecture is significant, but not all the appeal is outside.

Glenn Tetterton is a member and something of a historian of the temple

“The chandelier is Turkish revival from the early 19th century, and temple legend says that it is 500 years old, but it’s really not that old,” Tetterton said. “The organ… is the oldest church organ in Wilmington, and we have maintained it for over a century now.”

The architect for the building was Samuel Sloan, a philadelphia architect, who also designed First Baptist Church across the street.

The temple is no stranger to media attention, which dates back to a newspaper article from 1875. It is still a big draw today.

“It’s a custom of ours that every service on Friday night to ask people to stand and introduce themselves if they are guests,” Sidlofsky said. “A lot of people come intentionally to see the building because they heard about it.”

If you want more information or want to see the temple just stop in or call. Visitors are always welcome.

And if you know of a building with an interesting story to tell, e-mail or call (910) 763-0979.


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