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Major Building Updates! 0 Comment(s)

Introducing the New Museum Exterior Concept!

SmithGroup JJR

We're thrilled to publicly debut the conceptual rendering for the exterior of the new museum by our architects SmithGroup JJR.

The facility will feature an airy lobby, multipurpose room, three exhibition galleries, office suite, and program spaces.

We look forward to sharing more with you! 

Major Progress on Capitol Crossing

In mid-June, Capitol Crossing, the $1.3-billion mixed-used project adjacent to the Lillian & Albert Small Museum, finished the highway deck on which the first of five planned buildings will be erected.

To celebrate this work, developer Property Group Partners released this time-lapse video of this phase of construction. Directly center and toward the back of the frame sits our historic synagogue, witness to the project.

In the coming months, the Lillian & Albert Small Jewish Museum will become more than just a witness, but rather a participant in the project. It will be picked up and moved to a temporary location for a few years until its new site at Third & F Streets, NW, is ready. We anticipate the first move will occur by the end of the year.

Preparing For The Synagogue Move

The chandelier coming down in the sanctuary

The first big step in the move of the Lillian & Albert Small Jewish Museum -- emptying the building -- is complete.

For seven days, a team specializing in relocating museum collections took great care packing the following into a truck:

  • 567 artifacts
  • 500 linear feet of archival documents, photographs, and scrapbooks
  • 153 oversized documents and photos in flat-file cases
  • 45 textiles
  • 6 original pews from Adas Israel, Ohev Sholom, Washington Hebrew, and Ohr Kodesh

As well as furnishings including:

  • 20 metal shelving units
  • 28 light fixtures
  • 6 reproduction pews
  • 2 custom-made museum-quality cabinets
  • 2 bimah chairs

All of these items are now stored by a museum-services company in a controlled-access vault in a secure facility with fire protection and 24/7 climate control. Our staff will be able to access and work with the collections at any time.

Taking down the plaques

Benches with blue blankets on them inside a cargo truck

Pews covered in protective blankets in the truck

*See More Photos*   Album 1 | Album 2

In Memoriam: Elie Wiesel and Max Ticktin 0 Comment(s)

May Their Memories Be For A Blessing

Last week, Washington's Jewish community lost two pillars of life and culture in our region and beyond.

We remember Elie Wiesel and Max Ticktin's lasting legacies.  

Elie Wiesel (1928-2016)

Holocaust survivor, author, Nobel laureate, and human rights activist Elie Wiesel was perhaps the world's most well-known Holocaust survivor. He dedicated his life to combating hate and remembering the Holocaust. A frequent visitor to Washington, he made a lasting impact on our community.

Marion and Elie Wiesel (left and center) with Soviet liberator at reunion, 1981. 

JHSGW Collections. Photo by and gift of Ida Jervis.

In 1978, President Jimmy Carter appointed Wiesel chairman of the Presidential Commission on the Holocaust. Wiesel's efforts at the commission led to the establishment of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, where his words greet visitors at the entrance: "For the dead and the living, we must bear witness."

Wiesel and his wife traveled to Washington in 1981 as part of a three-day conference that he organized to record the horrors of the Holocaust for posterity. During the conference, the Wiesels participated in a reunion of Holocaust survivors and liberators at U.S. State Department.

Elie Wiesel speaking at Freedom Sunday, 1987.

JHSGW Collections. Gift of Susan Banes Harris.

Among Wiesel's many social justice causes was the movement to free Soviet Jewry. Twenty years after his book, The Jews of Silence, raised public awareness of the plight of Soviet Jews, Wiesel addressed the crowd at the 1987 Freedom Sunday rally on the National Mall. "If I had three days, I would read the name of every Jew refused permission to leave the Soviet Union," he said. "All these names must be known."

Learn about D.C.'s Soviet Jewry movement from our exhibition, Voices of the Vigil.

Max Ticktin (1922-2016)

At Rabbis for Human Rights-North America conference, Washington, D.C., 2008.

JHSGW Collections. Photo by and gift of Lloyd Wolf.

Max Ticktin, an ordained rabbi, was one of the most influential and beloved professionals at Hillel and a longtime professor of Yiddish and Hebrew Literature at The George Washington University. After transforming several Hillel Foundations in the Midwest, his talents brought him to Washington as associate national director of Hillel. He was also an active member at Washington's Fabrangen and Yiddish of Greater Washington.

Last fall, our staff had the opportunity to conduct an oral history of Max Ticktin in partnership with the Washington Jewish Week. This interview was funded by a grant from the Koster Foundation. Below are several excerpts.

About his professional calling

"So, it's the teacher in me, it's the piece of me that feels I was put on this Earth to somehow to try to make some contacts with things that will survive my life and will be part of a consensus. A consensus, at the moment we are talking about a Jewish consensus. But it's obviously a Jewish consensus of commitments within a larger world, a larger politics."

On his passion for the Hebrew language

"The development of the Hebrew language in my lifetime is a miracle. A miracle in the sense that one has to realize that one becomes a wandering Jew, here's a bad pun, a wondering Jew instead of a wandering Jew. It's a matter of wonder and miracle that this is the only place on Earth where a language and a big part of culture was born out of suffering and pain and disruption and survived."