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.

Celebrate Jewish American Heritage Month with Local Benchmarks

President Bill Clinton and Holocaust survivor and founding chairman Elie Wiesel help dedicate the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in April 1993 / photo courtesy of USHMM

In perhaps the most fitting way to herald in May as Jewish American Heritage Month, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, today and tomorrow, celebrate their 20th anniversary in downtown DC. Click here for their national calendar of events, Museum timeline, multimedia coverage of public programming and collections building, and an online form to submit your own impressions.

Be sure to visit the official site, and JAHM pages at the Library of Congress, the National Endowment for the Humanities, The National Park Service and USHMM.

And in local fare, a look at what’s coming up at The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington:

May 5: Walking Tour, Arlington National Cemetery, in partnership with the Foundation for Jewish Studies and the Jewish Museum of Maryland

May 9: Featured Speaker: Gerda Wiessman Klein—Author, Humanitarian, Holocaust Survivor, hosted at the William G. McGowan Theater at the National Archives

May 19: Walking Tour, Downtown Jewish Washington, in partnership with the Foundation for Jewish Studies, Jewish Study Center and the Jewish Museum of Maryland

And in more fortuitous timing, Sixth & I is currently a contestant in the Partners In Preservation’s competition for a $100,000 prize. If the synagogue wins, it plans to use the funds to repair the historic stained glass windows. You can vote daily through May 10 by clicking here!

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

Summer Internship at the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington!

Sifting through the Society’s holdings on Jewish Community Centers in Washington, DC / photo taken by Rachel Mauro

Perhaps in tandem with Shavuot (studying old documents? OK, it’s a stretch :P), I’m pleased to check in with the news that I’ll be spending much of my summer at the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington, cataloging records spanning 100 years having to do with the Jewish Community Centers in the Washington area. I’m so excited to learn more about the storied histories of the JCC of Greater Washington and the DCJCC!

Beyond archival duties I’ll also be helping out in the Society where I can, including writing entries on their blog. Check out my inaugural post, chronicling a lecture by Interpretive Programs Manager David McKenzie on Jewish Washington: Scrapbook of an American Jewish Community.

And with school cooling off for a little while, I plan to be back here a bit more, too! Stay tuned for new features this summer, and chag sameach!