Those of you who have read a little into my blog know that I love history, especially the Jewish kind. Therefore, I was thrilled Thursday evening to attend (Facebook link) the summer patio party hosted at the Lilian and Albert Small Jewish Museum.
Nathalie Lavine, the curational assistant at The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington, caretaker of the museum, admitted that her organization had gotten a late start at reaching out to young professionals, but thanks to friendly colleagues like the DCJCC’s GesherCity, Sixth & I, and Young Professionals Kesher, they were able to draw in a large crowd of professionals for food, drink, fun, and historical education.
Mark, a volunteer docent, led two groups inside of the museum and explained a bit about it’s checkered past. It was built in 1876 as a synagogue for Adas Israel– a congregation still located in D.C. and going strong today. Only serving Adas for three decades before the congregation outgrew it, the building has also been home to several churches, businesses, and even used as storage space throughout the years.
A 1960s plan to demolish the place to make way for Metro transit headquarters galvanized Jewish investors to restore the property- and physically move it out of the way of Metro (click here for a 1969 shot of the synagogue being pulled down the street by a dolly!)
Though no longer an official congregation, the synagogue can be rented out for weddings or b’nai mitzvahs. JHSGW continues to offer programming and other attractions so as to connect D.C. Jews to their heritage- a great plus in my book! E-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org, or join their Facebook group here.