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In Memory of Jack Kay 0 Comment(s)

Please join us in extending condolences to the family of Jack Kay, Jewish Historical Society Honorary Director, who passed away this weekend. Mr. Kay’s funeral will be held at Adas Israel Congregation, 2850 Quebec Street, NW, at 1 pm tomorrow, Tuesday, April 23, 2013.

Barbara and Jack Kay at our Guardian event at the Halcyon House, 2008

Mr. Kay was a key supporter of our work for many years. He began his Board service in 1999, became an Honorary Director in 2005 and served in this capacity until his death. He and his first wife, Ina, were among our first Guardian members. As a member of our Presidents Circle, he and his wife Barbara were major donors supporting the many aspects of our programs and operations. He generously supported our exhibitions during the past 20 years, including our Israel exhibition, Ties That Bind, in 1998 and Jewish Washington in 2005.

Mr. Kay understood the importance of our work preserving Jewish history in the nation's capital and established the Kay Family Archives through his many donations to the Society's collections. The Kay Family Archives include numerous photographs, scrapbooks, correspondence, personal papers, and other materials documenting the remarkable legacy that both he and his parents, Minnie and Abraham Kay, left in our community.

Our heartfelt condolences to Jack’s wife Barbara, his daughter Lauren, and his grandchildren.

May his memory be a blessing.

In Memory of Richard England 0 Comment(s)

It is with great sadness to notify you that Richard “Dick” England, husband of Honorary Director Lois England, passed away on Monday, April 1, 2013.

A memorial service was held on Thursday, April 4th at Washington Hebrew Congregation. Family suggests memorial gifts be made to Chess Challenge, The Multicultural Career Intern Program (at the Columbia Heights Educational Campus), or Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington.

The Englands announced a major contribution to the Society at the 50th anniversary annual meeting, 2010.

Lois has served on our Board for more than 20 years with a particular interest in archives.  Both she and Dick were among our earliest and staunchest supporters and boosters. They were among the original donors creating an endowment in their names in the late 1980s to perpetuate museum activities. They were among the original Guardian members, increasing their support annually. With each special project and exhibition, Lois and Dick were there with their support.  They hosted a wonderful event for major donors in their home about 10 years ago. When our exhibition Jewish Washington: Scrapbook of an American Community opened in the National Building Museum, the Englands thought that we should have a 30’ banner hang in the Great Hall and their support made that possible.

When we started our Capital Campaign to purchase our administrative office building, Lois and Dick were among the first supporters, later increasing their support so that they would be in a position to ask others for support—which they did. Again they were the first donors to the new museum generous giving us a $250,000 gift that they hoped would be used for the new museum, but were kind enough to designate as unrestricted.

We have benefited rom their wisdom and support.

Though Lois served on the Board, Dick was present at Guardian events, exhibit openings and annual meetings, lending his voice and support to our work. We will greatly miss him.

Passover Cooking in the White House 0 Comment(s)

On the way to the Passover cooking demo
with president of the Jewish Museum of Maryland, Duke Zimmerman, and others

I was really honored to be invited to the White House yesterday for a pre-Passover cooking demonstration with Joan Nathan and the WH Pastry Chef. Samples were abundant. The National Endowment for the Humanities and Jewish Museum of Maryland (which has an exhibit funded by NEH now on display about Jewish foodways) cosponsored the event with the White House Office of Public Engagement.

Read reporter Vered Guttman’s article from Haaretz to learn more about the afternoon. It was thrilling to have a content rich event in the President’s House -- or at least his office building -- we were in the Old Executive Office Building!! Have a wonderful Passover.

Remembering Arthur Welsh 0 Comment(s)

This coming June will mark the centennial of Arthur Welsh's death in an airplane crash.

The story of Welsh, a Russian Jewish immigrant who settled in Washington, is one of our favorites. Likely after seeing an airplane demonstration at Fort Myer, Virginia, in 1908, he asked the Wright Brothers to hire him. After he persisted, they eventually agreed. He became one of their most trusted pilots and instructors, training several pilots (including "Hap" Arnold, head of the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II) and demonstrating the new technology of flight until his untimely death when his Wright Flyer C crashed at College Park airfield on June 11, 1912.

At the cemetery, from the left, Paul, Tiffany, me, and Lisa

To commemorate the centennial of his death, we are collaborating with the College Park Aviation Museum to create a small exhibition and hold a special program. As part of the prep, we recently met with Paul Glenshaw, the exhibition's researcher and designer, and Tiffany Davis, Collection Curator at the Museum. We ventured together to pay our respects to Welsh at Southeast Washington's Adas Israel Cemetery. 

Interested in learning more about this remarkable Jewish Washingtonian? Visit the online exhibition we created several years ago, and come join us at the program in June!

Exhibition Opening at French Embassy 0 Comment(s)

Last night, JHSGW board member Howard Morse (seen here) and I attended a special reception and exhibit opening at the Embassy of France for an exhibition about Hélène Berr, the French equivalent of Anne Frank. The exhibit Hélène Berr—A Stolen Life, created by the Mémorial de la Shoah in Paris, is only on view for a few days at the embassy and then will travel to New York and eventually to the Virginia Holocaust Museum in Richmond, VA. This touching exhibit is based on Hélène's journal, a beautifully written account of her life in Nazi-occupied Paris. Her journal was saved by her cook and only published in 2008. Hélène, just like Anne Frank, still believed in the goodness of people, even through all of the indignities and horrors she experienced. I am moved by her overwhelming positive view of humanity at its darkest hour.

You can view the exhibition online (in French only)

JHSGW will commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day, Thursday, April 19th at 7pm at the Embassy of France. I hope you will join us and La Maison Française as we remember courageous acts of women resisters, who proved that people are indeed good and stand up to injustice.