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Adas Israel acquired its cemetery almost immediately after its 1869 founding. Washington Hebrew also made a cemetery a first priority. It purchased a small plot on Hamilton Road (now Alabama Avenue, SE) in the early 1850s, before moving to an area adjacent to Adas Israel’s land in 1879. Ohev Sholom purchased land nearby by 1895.
Members of other congregations typically purchased plots through fraternal organizations. Landsleit (countrymen) from Elesavetgrad in Russia bought burial plots together in the early twentieth century and named the cemetery for their Russian home. They offered space to fraternal groups and smaller congregations.
Commercially-run cemeteries offered plots in the more spacious suburbs for congregations and unaffiliated Jews. Recently, Washington Hebrew Congregation organized a 152-acre nonprofit cemetery, Garden of Remembrance (Gan Zikaron) Memorial Park, in Clarksburg, Maryland. It opened for use by the entire Washington area Jewish community in 2000.]]>
The only all-day Jewish school in Washington at the time, Hebrew Academy was part of a larger national movement committed to providing students with a solid Jewish education while also preparing them to participate in the broader American community.
The Academy quickly outgrew the residential buildings off Georgia Avenue where it first held classes. It moved to the vacant Curtis School in Georgetown in 1946. School leaders began raising funds for a new school closer to the homes of families who were moving uptown.
In 1951, the Academy dedicated a new brick and limestone building at 16th Street and Fort Stevens Drive, NW, where it remained until moving to Silver Spring in 1976. In 1999, the Academy moved into its newly renovated Aspen Hill campus.
In 2002, the Jewish Primary Day School of the Nation’s Capital purchased the 16th Street building, returning Jewish learning to the site after more than twenty-five years.
Young Jews had founded the YMHA and the YWHA during the 1910s. In downtown clubhouses, they sponsored dances, lectures, and World War I USO canteens.
By the 1920s, Washington’s Jewish community needed a larger place for athletic, cultural, and social activities. The Jewish Community Center’s first home was a prominent 16th Street building in view of the White House.
To serve a growing suburban population, Jewish leaders built a new Rockville campus for several major Jewish organizations. In 1969, the JCC moved to the Rockville campus. The D.C. government bought the aging downtown building.
Today, the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington in Rockville and the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia serve the Washington metropolitan area.
Jewish residents who had stayed in or returned to the city formed a new downtown JCC in the late 1970s. They met in rented sites until purchasing the original 16th Street building. After a major restoration, the Washington DC JCC reopened in 1997, bringing a panoply of activities back to the historic Jewish site.
Washington’s largest local charitable groups, United Hebrew Charities and the Hebrew Relief Society, merged in 1921 and later took the name Jewish Social Service Agency (JSSA).
In search of a building to serve as the Hebrew Home for the Aged, agency founders persuaded the Young Men’s Hebrew Association to sell them its clubhouse at 415 M Street, NW. In 1914, the first ten residents moved in.
Ten years later, the Hebrew Home moved to a larger building on Spring Road, NW, with room for 35 residents. In 1940, JSSA, which first operated in the basement of the city’s Community Chest organization, relocated to a new office building adjacent to the Hebrew Home.
Challenged by the increasing needs of the growing suburban Jewish community, community leaders planned a new suburban campus for the major Jewish communal organizations. In 1969, the renamed Hebrew Home of Greater Washington and JSSA, along with the Jewish Community Center, moved to the new complex on Montrose Road in Rockville. Adjacent to The Jewish Federation of Washington, these agencies together form the core of Jewish philanthropic and social services in the metropolitan area.
Southwest Hebrew Congregation members were predominantly young and single, and shared a commitment to an integrated, urban community.
At first, members met in churches and homes for services and study. In 1966, the group began sharing space with St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church at 600 M Street, SW. Within a few years, the congregation affiliated with the Reform movement. In 1968, it adopted the name Temple Micah, named for the prophet who envisioned a world of peace.
By the late 1980s, Temple Micah had outgrown its shared space, and much of the congregation had left the area. Although many remained committed to the Southwest neighborhood, the congregation moved in order to establish their own, Jewish space. Temple Micah found a site on Wisconsin Avenue in upper Georgetown. Architects and members Robert Weinstein and Judith Capen, with the congregation’s involvement, designed a contemporary building and dedicated their new temple in 1995.
The 415-member congregation is now reviewing designs for expansion.