Spreading Out

The decades following World War II introduced enormous changes to Washington. As the federal bureaucracy expanded, newcomers flocked to the government boomtown. Over a third of Jewish workers in Washington were federal employees.

Returning veterans and newly arrived government workers contributed to the transformation of Washington from capital city into metropolitan region. Seeking new homes, they joined an exodus to the Maryland and Virginia suburbs. By 1956, half of the area’s 81,000 Jews lived outside the city limits. Synagogues and many businesses followed.

At the same time, many local Jews joined the political and social movements of the 1950s and 1960s.

Young couple at a dance

1955: Reflecting the growing importance of teen culture in American life, Paula Pascal and Fred Goldberg enjoy a Jewish high school fraternity dance.

JHSGW Collections. Gift of Paula Pascal Levine. 2001.06

housing development photo

Suburban developments like these homes in Kemp Mill Estates sprang up throughout the region.

JHSGW Collections. Gift of Jack Kay. 2008.31

Young couple at a dance
housing development photo