Monday, December 13, 2010

Annual Meeting (or, JHSGW, you don't look a day over 50!)

On June 9, 1960, ten Jewish Washingtonians met in a living room to discuss founding a historical society that would help preserve the story of Jewish life in Washington. Each year since, the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington has held an annual meeting, an open session of the executive board. This year’s annual meeting, convened on November 14, was a particularly special one, as we celebrated our 50th anniversary.

The Society used the meeting, and the lovely space at Congregation Adas Israel, as an opportunity to showcase our progress over the past fifty years to the hundred and fifty members and guests who attended. Through banners, posters, photo albums, and objects, we looked back at some of our favorite exhibitions, guest speakers, and programs, as well as looked ahead at the impending synagogue move and where the Society is headed in its next fifty years. I certainly learned a lot in researching and reading the materials, and, judging by the lively conversation that followed the meeting, many of our guests were intrigued as well.

We were fortunate this year to be joined by Marvin Kalb (pictured at right), host of The Kalb Report and the last newsman hired by the incomparable
Edward R. Murrow. In his keynote address, Kalb discussed the changes he’s seen in the Washington, DC area and in the journalism profession in the last fifty years. Most notably to his eye, the profession has been diverted from a focus on reporting news with honesty and respect to a focus on taking sides and being the first to break a story.

During the board meeting portion of the afternoon’s festivities, we did take care of some necessary business, including voting on by-laws about the size of the board and term limits for the board president. We also elected a new slate of board members, appointed honorary directors, and bid a fond farewell to the departing members of the board.
Following the official proceedings, all in attendance partook of a delectable spread, including a giant, amply-frosted cake, which I had the joyous—and messy—task of slicing and serving. (For the 51st, I’ll remember to bring an apron!)

We look forward to seeing you at next year’s meeting—and to sharing the Society’s next fifty years with you!

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