Harriet and Ben H. Keyserling

Harriet Keyserling

Harriet Keyserling grew up in a family that talked about the need for social justice and acted accordingly. Her parents, Isador and Pauline Steinberg Hirschfeld, aided struggling young artists and musicians, allowing them to give concerts in their home and helping them in their day to day lives. They also aided many Jewish refugees from Hitler, both family and strangers, when they came to the United States. A dentist himself, Isador found positions for fleeing dentists, enabling them to become licensed in their field upon their arrival here. He was also a leader in gathering funds and equipment for the Dental School of the Hebrew University in Israel. 

The Keyserling family was equally active in their support of the Jewish Community as they worked to raise funds for the new state of Israel through the United Jewish Appeal. At the age of 82, William Keyserling, died of a heart attack while addressing a national meeting of the United Jewish Appeal. In the thirty years that followed, Harriet and Herbert took over his duties as chairman of the Beaufort United Jewish Appeal and Israel bond drive. 

Both Harriet and Herbert received many awards and honors for their service, both within the Jewish community and the community at large. Harriet served in the S.C. Legislature from 1977 to 1992, where she was named Legislator of the Year by the Greenville News. She was also awarded the Order of the Palmetto, the state's highest honor. Like her parents, she supported the arts and was recognized with the Governor's Elizabeth Verner Award, given by the state to those who make outstanding contributions to the arts. 

Herbert served in the Navy as a physician to the Marines at Guadalcanal in World War II, for which he was awarded a Silver Star and other medals. After the War he returned to Beaufort to open an office as a general practitioner. He served on the Beaufort Hospital staff for over fifty years, where his legacy will not soon be forgotten. For his dedication and 
commitment both to the medical community and the community at large, the hospital has named their new cancer center in his honor. 

Mrs. Keyserling supports the Jewish Studies Program because she feels very strongly that the education and socialization of our young people is the best way to keep the Jewish ethic and religion strong. 

The Keyserling’s followed in their parent’s footsteps of community service and hope that their four children will continue the family’s legacy of service.