Fayetteville, WV – (WWNR) – A new Civil War Trails sign honors the service of Jewish soldiers in the Civil War and the first Passover Seder in West Virginia.
Members of the local Jewish Community and state tourism officials gathered for the unveiling Monday in Fayetteville, near the site where the Seder took place nearly 161 years ago.
“There were 20 Jewish soldiers in Ohio’s 23rd Volunteers,” said Dr. Joseph Golden, secretary of Temple Beth El in Beckley. “and they were here in Fayetteville in winter headquarters in 1862. The Passover holiday came and they got permission. . . to take leave and set up a Passover Seder. So they gathered together the food that was part of the Seder. . . and in this narrative that Joseph Joel wrote in 1866 conveyed the story of the gathering here, to celebrate their Jewish history, their Jewish religion, within the overall context of being soldiers in the Union army.”
The Fayetteville project is the result of several years of dedication by Dr. Golden and other local historians. It’s the first Civil War Trails site in the nation which champions the story of Jewish soldiers.
“It tells me as somebody who covers a lot of sites, a lot of states and works with a lot of stakeholders that there’s always something new to learn about the Civil War,” said Drew Gruber, Executive Director of Civil War Trails. “We’re able to work with stakeholders, community leaders like Dr. Golden, libraries like the Rutherford B. Hayes Library, and take all this information and put together a sign which is indicative of their culture, of their community, their community’s voice, and then working with folks like WV Tourism are able to promote that story to the world, so that when you arrive at a Civil War Trail site, what you’re hearing is the local voice and the local perspective with their history.”
You can see the new Civil War Trails sign commeorating the Civil War Passover Seder at the Love Hope Center For The Arts, located at 100 Rotan Street in Fayetteville.