Tifereth Israel Congregation

Chevrah Tifereth Israel was formed around 1914 by a small group of Eastern European immigrants who lived and worked near what is now Adams Morgan.

Members first met in Louis Mensh’s home at Ontario and Kalorama Roads, NW. In the early 1920s, the congregation bought a large house at 14th and Euclid Streets, NW, and converted it into an Orthodox shul.

By the late 1930s, the growing congregation began planning for a larger home. World War II intervened. Meanwhile, Jewish families had begun moving north along the Georgia Avenue and 16th Street corridors into neighborhoods such as Brightwood and Shepherd Park.

In 1948, Tifereth Israel joined with Agudath Achim and Ohev Sholom congregations in planning for a new, large synagogue, to be known as TAOS, on land owned by Agudath Achim at 13th and Tuckerman Streets, NW. The congregations parted ways over issues of leadership and Tifereth Israel’s tradition of mixed seating.

Tifereth Israel dedicated its 550-seat synagogue in Shepherd Park on upper 16th Street, NW, in 1957. In 1960, the congregation affiliated with the Conservative movement. In the decades that followed, the congregation developed a distinctive blend of tradition and innovation in lay-led Jewish worship, study, and social action.

By the late 1960s, many members had moved into the Maryland suburbs. After much discussion, the congregation chose to remain in its District location. Thirty-five years later, the 300-family congregation remains committed to modern, Jewish life in the city.


Tifereth Israel Congregation, 14th and Euclid

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1. Tifereth Israel Congregation, 14th and Euclid

Tifereth Israel refitted this house on the corner of 14th and Euclid Streets, NW, as a synagogue in the 1920s. Hebrew classes were held in the attic.

Courtesy of the Historical Society of Washington, D.C.
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Tifereth Israel choir, 1928

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2. Tifereth Israel choir, 1928

Choir Director Louis Fenik, back row, center. Front row, left to right: unknown, Louis
Kornhauser, Abe Jeweler, Emanuel Raffel, Herman Fisher

JHSGW Collections. Gift of Louis Kornhauser
Newsletter of the TAOS congregations, 1948

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3. Newsletter of the TAOS congregations, 1948

JHSGW Collections. Gift of Bebe Perlmutter.
Tifereth Israel officers, c. 1937

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4. Tifereth Israel officers, c. 1937

Synagogue officers in the 1930s included Louis Mensh (front row, second from right), an early founder. Also seen here are Cantor Jeremiah Weitz and Rabbi Harry Silverstone (third and fourth from left).

JHSGW Collections
Confirmation class at 14th and Euclid Streets, N.W., 1955

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5. Confirmation class at 14th and Euclid Streets, NW, 1955

Rabbi Harry Silverstone is pictured on the left.

Tifereth Israel Congregation Collections. Photo by Mel Chamowitz
Tifereth Israel Congregation, 16th and Juniper Streets, N.W.

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6. Tifereth Israel Congregation, 16th and Juniper Streets, NW

The façade features a bold, stainless steel seven-branch menorah. Marble and limestone blocks imported from Israel enhance the exterior, foyers, and Ark. Architects Daumit & Sargent designed the building.

Photographs by Jeremy Goldberg
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Flyer for first High Holiday Service at Juniper Street

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7. Flyer for first High Holiday Service at Juniper Street

Tifereth Israel Collections
Wedding in Tifereth Israel’s Wolman Sanctuary

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8. Wedding in Tifereth Israel’s Wolman Sanctuary

Tifereth Israel Collections