HAPPENING TOMORROW – Celebrating a Passover Seder in the midst of the Civil War

Fayetteville, WV – Join us as we unveil a new Civil War Trails sign at Love Hope Center for the Arts
on April 3rd, at 11:00am. The community is invited to attend the event located at 100 Rotan St.,
Fayetteville, WV 25840 on the 161st anniversary of the historic Passover Seder which took place there
in 1862. Guest speakers will include Dr. Joseph Golden from Temple Beth El., in Beckley, Ennis Smith
who is the Director of Destination Development for the West Virginia Department of Tourism, Delegate
Eric Brooks and other community leaders.

This is the first Civil War Trails site in the nation which champions the story of Jewish soldiers. The
men under the command of the President-to-be Rutherford Hayes who were camped in the wilds of
West Virginia managed to pull together all the items required to properly observe the Passover holiday.
Drew Gruber who oversees the multi-state Civil War Trails (CWT) program said, “In the midst of our
nation’s darkest hour, these soldiers came together, enabled by the larger community and in doing so
they offered peace and hope to a nation at war.”

Stacey Tope, Executive Director of the Love Hope Center for the Arts (right) installs
the new interpretive sign with Jason Shaffer, Operations Director for Civil War Trails, Inc. (left). The
location of the Center is at the base of the hill where the soldiers encamped as they guarded Fayetteville
and based on archaeological evidence is the likely location of the Passover ceremony. Courtesy, Civil
War Trails, Inc.

This project is the result of several years of dedication by local historians, Temple Beth El in Beckley,
Love Hope Center for the Arts and the New River Gorge Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB). Dr.
Joseph Golden, Secretary of the Temple Beth El congregation reads from the soldier’s diaries during
their own Passover celebrations and has also researched the story of the 1862 Seder. Despite being a
historic story it rings true for the Jewish community today. “Commemorating this Passover Seder
celebrated by 20 Jewish Union soldiers has importance to the Jewish community in Fayette and Raleigh
Counties. Although we are a minority, and they were a minority in the Union Army, they were and we
are part and parcel of the diverse fabric that make up this nation of ours” said Dr. Golden.

The team at the New River Gorge CVB who is the sustaining partner for the CWT program in the
County is equally as excited for the new site. “This is an asset to our growing tourism industry and
community, said Becky Sullivan, Executive Director of the CVB. “We are finding more and more that
people love learning the history of the places they visit,” she continued. This same sentiment was
echoed by Secretary Ruby of West Virginia Tourism, whose office assists in promoting the over 150
Civil War Trails sites and stories across the state. Secretary Ruby said, “West Virginia has such a rich,
diverse history that deserves to be celebrated––this site is no exception. Travelers get to experience
history first-hand with the help of the Civil War Trails signage. I’m thrilled that another stop has been
added to honor this event in our great state.”

Parking for the unveiling is available at Polecat Tacos, 190 S Court St, Fayetteville, WV 25840. For
more information about the unveiling, or for journalists please call Civil War Trails at 757-378-5462.
Be sure to snap a selfie with the new sign and check in @lovehopearts, #civilwartrails, #signselfie, #gogorge. To begin planning your trip visit this site, request a free brochure at newrivergorgecvb.com.


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