Thursday, June 23, 2011

Preserving Community Heritage

Today our intern, Samantha, and I visited the U Street offices of the Humanities Council of Washington, D.C. We were there to pick up a check for a D.C. Community Heritage Project grant! Here I am with HCWDC's Executive Director, Joy Ford Austin.

Thanks to HCWDC and the MARPAT Foundation for giving us grants to create four exhibition panels in our historic synagogue and a panel outside. When you come to the Lillian & Albert Small Jewish Museum later this year, you'll see panels with images and text about the birth of Adas Israel, the building's architecture, the 1876 dedication service, President Grant's visit to the dedication, and neighborhood life in the early-to-mid 1900s. We're also creating a short video about the synagogue's history.

This project is the first phase of implementing an exhibition plan we created in 2009, with funding from HCWDC and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The entire exhibition--to be completed after the synagogue is moved--will tell the story of the synagogue building, its early congregants, and by extension the Judiciary Square neighborhood.

We're honored to be among the neighborhood and local history associations awarded grants from HCWDC this year. Be on the lookout for HCWDC's annual symposium on the Community Heritage Project, tentatively scheduled for December 8.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Honoring Jewish Chaplains

For years Chaplains Hill at Arlington National Cemetery has held monuments to Protestant and Catholic military chaplains killed in the line of duty--but none for their Jewish counterparts. Last week, we were honored to be a part of rectifying that.

On Thursday, Ken Kraetzer (left), Admiral Harold Robinson (center), and Shelley Rood of the Jewish Federations of North America (right)--who have been spearheading the effort--stopped by our office on their way to a meeting with the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, which approves all monuments in the nation's capital and Arlington National Cemetery. They impressed us with their practice presentation, and apparently impressed the CFA with the real thing, as well--the design for the monument was approved, with only minor tweaks!

All of the funds needed for the creation of the Jewish Chaplains Monument at Arlington have been raised. Since last fall, we've been creating an accompanying brochure about Jews buried at Arlington (in cooperation with the Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington). We've raised $2,000 of the $10,000 needed for that project; click here to donate (indicate that your donation is for Arlington Cemetery).

We'll look forward to the monument's dedication--now a step closer to happening.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Successful Jewish American Heritage Month!

Chairman Brown addresses the crowd
Photograph by Betty Adler
Our Jewish American Heritage Month programs culminated at City Hall last month, where we celebrated with D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown, the D.C. Council, and even the mayor.  This special event, co-organized with the Jewish Community Relations Council, included a kosher deli lunch and our exhibition, Jewish Life in Mr. Lincoln’s City, which was on view in the Wilson Building atrium.

During May we served 625 people through our programs.  Countless others viewed our exhibitions.

Debbie Linick of JCRC,
D.C. Attorney General Irvin Nathan,
JHSGW Executive Director Laura Apelbaum,
and D.C. Mayor Vincent Grey
Photograph by Betty Adler

Click on photos to enlarge.