Thursday, January 27, 2011

National Media Requests JHSGW Photograph

Jewish Historical Society of
Greater Washington
After the 2009 reception for Jewish American Heritage Month on Capitol Hill, which we co-hosted with The Jewish Federations of North America, we posted some photographs on Flickr.  One of these photos shows Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords with friends Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.  We have always thought it a lovely photo, but a week or so ago, we learned just how special it is.

The photo seems to be the only one of the three friends at a public event and it fittingly accompanied the dramatic stories about Gillibrand and Wasserman Schultz being at Giffords' bedside in Arizona when she first opened her eyes.  The photo first showed up local New York paper, and we found it next on a Florida news blog.

In consultation with photographer Ron Sachs (Consolidated News Photo) and Steve Rabinowitz (Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications), we released the photo for use free of charge.  We received usage requests from such media outlets as ABC, NBC Universal, and Getty Images.  The photo was included in January 18th's edition of 20/20, which you can watch below.  To watch the rest of the report, go to 20/20's page.

If you have not yet read how proud Congresswoman Gifford's is of her Jewish roots, click here to read an article from The Forward.

We wish her a speedy recovery.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

An Evening for Educators

On January 13, over 30 educators converged on the Lillian & Albert Small Jewish Museum to learn about the plethora of places where their students can learn about the Civil War. Our guests mingled and talked with representatives from each site, then sat in the pews to hear what each site has to offer. Pictured here is Braden Paynter from the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site in Southeast Washington.

We were pleased to host ten other historic sites and museums from the area--President Lincoln's Cottage, Tudor Place, the Newseum, White House Historical Association, U.S. Capitol Historical Society, the African American Civil War Memorial and Museum, and four National Park Service sites: Ford's Theater, the Civil War Defenses of Washington, Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, and the National Mall and Memorial Parks. Our organizations are collaborating on joint programming to commemorate the upcoming 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

You might ask, what does a synagogue built 11 years after the Civil War ended have to do with that conflict? President Ulysses S. Grant attended its dedication, perhaps to atone for General Order No. 11, which he issued while commanding the Department of the Tennessee (western Kentucky, western Tennessee, northern Mississippi) in 1862. That order--quickly rescinded by President Lincoln--expelled Jews from the area under his control.

This story is among the many told in our exhibition Jewish Life in Mr. Lincoln's City. You can see a traveling version of that exhibition at the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia through February 22! And don't miss one of our upcoming talks about Jewish life in Civil War Washington.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Many hands make light work

Our Collections Committee held a workday in the JHSGW archives on Monday. Volunteers worked for several hours sorting through dusty old boxes from the Rabbi Tzvi Porath collection, acquired by JHSGW in 2004.

Sam and Gail discovered a large series of papers including sermons, correspondence, and memoranda from the Jewish Welfare Board documenting Rabbi Porath’s chaplaincy during World War II. Brenda and Janice found dozens of Rabbi Porath’s sermons as well as event programs, invitations to the White House, and correspondence. Lenny uncovered dozens of photographs of Montgomery County Jewish Community and Ohr Kodesh, where Rabbi Porath served from 1952 to 1984 (see the photo below of Rabbi Porath with Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill!)
Meanwhile, Elsie continued her ongoing project with the Society’s institutional archives from the 1960s and 1970s.

It’s amazing how much a small group can get done in a few short hours! If you’d like to volunteer in the archives, please contact me at

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Object of the Month: January 2011

We invite you to peek into our archives each month!

Archives Record
Object #: 1998.54
Donor: Estate of Milton S. Kronheim, Sr.
Description: Photograph of Chief Justice Earl Warren’s birthday party in the dining room at Milton S. Kronheim’s warehouse, early 1970s. From left (sitting): Associate Justice William O. Douglas, Judge Simon Sobeloff, Milton S. Kronheim, Sr., Chief Justice Earl Warren, and Associate Justice Thurgood S. Marshall. Standing from left are Milton King, Judge David L. Bazelon, former Maryland Governor Theodore R. McKeldin, Stanley Rosenzweig, Judge J. Skelly Wright, and Associate Justice William E. Brennan, Jr.

Background: Milton S. Kronheim, Sr., owner of Milton S. Kronheim & Son, the area’s largest liquor distributor, presided over a modestly appointed lunchroom at his liquor warehouse in Northeast Washington. There, he attracted gathering of presidents, lawmakers, Supreme Court Justices, sports figures, religious leaders and representatives of numerous charities. Kronheim gave his first lunch in 1928. He continued informally hosting the city’s most influential persons until his death in 1986, at age 97.

Kronheim devoted himself to an array of political and charitable causes as well as national Jewish organizations. He was a major supporter of the Democratic Party and his fundraising for Israel Bonds was so successful that a town, Nachalat Kronheim, was named after him. Kronheim also found time to pitch for his baseball team, the Kronheim A.C. Bearcats, until his arm gave out when he was in his mid-eighties. D.C. delegate, Walter Fauntroy, often played for the team.

Kronheim’s treasured photographs lined the walls of his company’s lunchroom. In 1998, his family donated more than 400 photographs and other items to the Jewish Historical Society, and the Society produced an exhibition of a selection of them the following year. The photographs are both a pictorial biography and a who’s who of Washington throughout most of the 20th century.

Do you have material documenting a notable local Jewish community member that you’d like to donate to the Jewish Historical Society? Contact us at or (202) 789-0900.

Check out our previous Objects of the Month!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Calling All Interns!

JHSGW is looking for some good interns for this summer.

Read about a past intern's experiences.

Interns work in a variety of activities, including (but not limited to):

1. Archives/collections management
2. Research
3. Education/Programs
4. Outreach/Marketing/Membership
5. Publications
6. Website/Exhibitions

Interested? To apply, please send the internship application, along with your resume, a cover letter detailing your interest in this internship, and a writing sample to:
David McKenzie, Interpretive Programs Manager ( by April 1.

Any questions? Contact David McKenzie at or (202) 789-0900.