Commemorate MLK Weekend 2019 and Tu B’Shevat 5779 in DC

Graphic courtesy of Openclipart

Happy 2019, everyone! The Jewish DC community started off the year with a bang…or with a synagogue rolling down the street! The recently minted Capital Jewish Museum (formerly the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington) moved DC’s oldest synagogue, built in 1876, for the third time since 1969! At its new home on the corner of Third and F streets, it will become part of a new museum on local Jewish history to open in 2021. I interned at JHSGW in 2012, and I can’t wait!

Luckily, there are more current events coming up on our collective horizon. In less than a week we have one secular and one religious holiday crop up in our midst–MLK Weekend goes from Jan 19-21 and Tu B’Shevat also occurs between the 20th and the 21st. Check out ways to get involved with the local community! Note: some events may be sold out.

Please feel free to add more events in the comments.

MLK Weekend

  • Sixth & I’s Visions of Freedom and Justice. In conjunction with Turner Memorial AME church and featuring their two choirs. Also focusing on the work of Civil Rights activist Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.
  • Washington Hebrew Congregation’s MLK Shabbat and Dinner. Hosting partner churches and mosques, featuring a a special address from Kristen Clarke, the president and executive director of the National Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee).
  • Adas Israel’s MLK celebration during Shabbat Shirah. Featuring a Friday night Return Again Shabbat service and dinner, and a Saturday morning service with guests from Roderick Giles and Grace Gospel Ensemble. The sermon will be led by guest rabbi Sandra Lawson, who will also facilitate an afternoon workshop entitled “Creating an Inclusive Jewish Future.”
  • Also check out Monday’s Day of Service with the EDJCC!

Tu B’Shevat

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Interracial Protest During Maryland’s Segregation Featured for 2018 Jewish American Heritage Month

Members of the largely Jewish neighborhood of Bannockburn, Md, protested the Glen Echo Park segregation / photo courtesy of the Bannocburn Facebook page

May is around the corner, and with it the 12th annual Jewish American Heritage Month! The official website has been updated with activities, resources and more.

The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington is teaming up with the National Archives to present this event:

Panel Discussion abut the Glen Echo Protests
May 17, 7 pm
Filmmaker Ilana Tratchman, will discuss her work-in-progress Ain’t No Back to a Merry-Go-Round, about a 1960 interracial protest against a segregated park in Glen Echo, Md.

The Washington Post wrote this about the actively involved Bannockburn, Md. community in a 2010 article:

The neighborhood was founded by Jews, many of whom had escaped Europe during the Holocaust of World War II. The founders of what would become Bannockburn had difficulty finding land or financing because of deed covenants preventing Jews or other minority groups from being able to buy the property.

Other events in the DC area include a May 7 book talk on “Roads Taken: Jewish Peddlers and Their American Journey” by Prof. Hasia Diner at the Library of Congress and co-sponsored by The Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington. On May 25, Sixth & I and the National Museum of American Jewish Military History are reprising their Memorial Day Shabbat.

Please feel free to add any comments about other JAHM events happening in the area. Check out my past coverage of Jewish American Heritage Month under the “Annual Events” tab.

Jewish Supreme Court Justices, Family Genealogy and Military Service Dominate 2017 Jewish American Heritage Month in DC

First Jewish U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Louis Brandeis / photo courtesy of wikipedia

May is around the corner, and with it the 11th annual Jewish American Heritage Month! The official website has been updated with upcoming events at venues around the country.

The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington is teaming up with the National Archives to present this event:

Lecture and Book Signing with Dr. David Dalin, May 4, 7pm
Historian and Rabbi Dr. David Dalin will be in conversation with U.S. Solicitor General Seth Waxman about his recent book release, Jewish Justices of the Supreme Court: From Brandeis to Kagan. Book signing to follow!

Other events in the DC include Jewish genealogy lectures with DAR Library Manuscript Curator Pamela Baster on May 4 and with genealogist Daniel Horowitz at the Library of Congress on May 8. On Memorial Day weekend, The National Museum of American Jewish Military History is teaming up with Sixth & I to present a Shabbat service in honor of the Jewish service people who died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Please feel free to add any comments about other JAHM events happening in the area. Check out my past coverage of Jewish American Heritage Month under the “Annual Events” tab.

Michigan Genealogy and Lincoln Books for 2016 Jewish American Heritage Month

A culturally appropriate image 😛 / photo courtesy of wikipedia

Welcome to May, and the tenth annual official Jewish American Heritage Month! The official website has been updated with upcoming events at venues such as the Library of Congress, the National Archives, the National Gallery of Art and the Holocaust Museum.

The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington is teaming up with two of these organizations to present events:

This seems to be a trend, highlighting Lincoln books during Jewish American Heritage Month; wonder if next year we will move on to a new president? 😛

On Sunday at 1 pm, the Society is rolling out its new walking tour of H Street! Hopefully you’ve already obtained your spot if you’re interested, otherwise the link has information about being put on the waiting list.

Please feel free to add any comments about other JAHM events happening in the area. Check out my past coverage of Jewish American Heritage Month under the “Annual Events” tab.

Lincoln’s Jewish Legacy and Jews in Pa Mining Towns Among Local Lectures for Jewish American Heritage Month

Lincoln’s Jewish podiatrist, Isachar Zacharie / courtesy of Jewish World Review

May heralds in the ninth commemoration of Jewish American Heritage Month! The official website has been updated with upcoming events at venues such as the National Gallery of Art, the National Archives, the Library of Congress and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington is teaming up with two of these organizations to present events:

The Society is also hosting a challah sale—four loaves for $24 to benefit it’s educational programs with pick up at their offices or free delivery in Penn Quarter. Deadline is May 4; sign up here.

On May 3, the Foundation for Jewish Studies and Congregation Beth El in Bethesda are co-hosting Jews, Protestants and the Secularization of Modern America with historian/professor Dr. David Hollinger.

Please comment with any other area events below!

Past JAHM coverage on JewishDC: 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009.

Save a piece of local Jewish culture in Mount Vernon

The 415 M Street mural / photo courtesy of JHSGW

As Jewish American History Month draws to a close, and amidst more distressing news of Jewish communities abroad, I thought this might be a good time to highlight a local effort to save a piece of our religious culture.

The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington has set up a donation page, hoping to raise at least $20,000 to remove and preserve the only known synagogue mural in Washington, DC.

The property at 415 M Street was purchased 100 years ago by the Young Men’s Hebrew Association, an organization, which ultimately grew into the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington. (Full disclosure: I interned two years ago at JHGW, where I organized the archival papers pertaining to local JCCs, starting with YMHA at this address. My favorite artifact was a bound book of brochures and programs from 1918-23).

The property was then sold to the Hebrew Home for the Aged, which now exists as the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington, and Orthodox congregation Shomrei Shabbos, which painted the mural 90 years ago. From there, the property belonged to a couple of churches, and will be converted to condominiums later this summer.

As amazing as it is to consider the varied history of this one house, to say nothing of the rest of DC, it would be a shame for this meaningful staple of Jewish presence in DC to be lost. Please do what you can to donate and/or spread the word! In the mean time, check out this short documentary film about the property by former resident Stephanie Slewka.

Book talks, Panels, Walking Tours and Plays for Jewish American Heritage Month 2014

April 30 commemoration of the Days of Remembrance at the Capitol building/ photo courtesy of USHMM

Today, in honor of the Days of Remembrance for the Holocaust, the Capitol building hosted a memorial ceremony, complete with speeches and a U.S. Infantry presentation of the flags of the liberating divisions. But tomorrow is May, and ergo the eighth year of the commemoration of Jewish American Heritage Month! The official website has been updated with upcoming events at venues such as the National Gallery of Art, the National Archives, the Library of Congress and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington is teaming up with two of these organizations to present events:

For hyper-local history, sign up for the May 4 Walking tour of Arlington Cemetery, or meet up with young adults from DCJCC’s EntryPoint DC for a downtown walking tour of Chinatown. Only a few spots left!

If you’re free tomorrow evening, the Foundation for Jewish Studies and Washington Hebrew Congregation are co-hosting Beyond the Battlefield: The Legacy of the Civil War for America’s Jews with historian/author Adam Mendelsohn.

And finally, Arena Stage presents the world premiere of Camp David, a historical drama about the meeting for Middle East peace with world leaders Jimmy Carter, Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat. JHSGW is offering a discount on ticket prices; click here for more! The play continues until May 4.

Past JAHM coverage on JewishDC: 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009.