JHSGW Blog Subscribe via RSS

Viewing posts with the tag Lillian & Albert Small Jewish Museum. Show all posts.

Circus Comes to Town 0 Comment(s)

On this beautiful, sunny afternoon, I found myself staring out the window. Why is everyone gathered along the street below? It's mid-March so it could only mean one thing-- the elephants are coming!

Sure enough, with email, cell phones and Twitter, we soon learn that the circus has come to town and the elephant parade will once again pass by the corner of 3rd & G.

Something about seeing the elephants parade by against the backdrop of the red brick of the historic synagogue is just visually compelling. And it always brings a smile to my face. I even saw that most of the DC police officers lining the route were smiling.

So many thanks to David McKenzie for taking this snap of the parade. Hope it makes you smile too.

Synagogue in the Snow 0 Comment(s)

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks with two major snowstorms in a row. Thought you’d enjoy pictures of our historic synagogue—the building has never seen this much snow in one winter in its 133-year history! Other significant snowstorms it has seen include:

- January 27-28, 1922 - 28 inches from the "Knickerbocker Storm," so named because it caused the Knickerbocker Theater's roof to collapse, killing 98 and injuring 133 people.
- February 11-13, 1899 - 20.5 inches
- February 18-19, 1979 - 18.7 inches from the "Presidents Day Storm"


The stuff of history 0 Comment(s)

When I was about nine or ten, I went to cheder at 6th and G. We lived in southeast Washington, within the shadow of the dome of the Capitol. I was never afraid to walk home after dark, through the Capitol grounds, singing “Adon Olam” or “Ayn Kalohanu” at the top of my voice.
--Rose Hornstein, oral history, 1969

We love this quotation. It sums up being a child who worshipped—and went to school—in the original Adas Israel synagogue (seen in the lower right corner of the photo). We love it so much that we're going to use it in an exhibit we’re planning for the synagogue.

We wanted to find out more about Rose Hornstein. That’s where some detective work came in. Thanks to an obituary of Rose’s brother, we were able to find her nieces. They’re searching for photos for us right now. Most importantly, Rose’s two nieces told us about their lives growing up in Washington—one even shared a synagogue newsletter she had written.

So when you think that no one is interested in your family’s story, think again! Thanks to the Hornstein family, we’ve been able to learn more about going to school in our building.

“History in Transit: ‘Wild Bill’ Patram’s Job to Remember” 0 Comment(s)

On the move!

(originally published in The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington's journal, The Record, May 1970)

There are many things Jews might consider a moving experience: the bar mitzvah of a precious child, the loving embrace of a friend in a time of mourning, even a simple taste of Bubbe’s perfect chicken soup on a frigid winter day.

It was during such a day—December 18, 1969—that William B. “Wild Bill” Patram organized the passage of an antique building just right, thereby realizing a rite of passage for a whole community. The wind-chill factor may have dipped below the 20s on that bitter morning, but the warmth of the occasion made it a moving experience in more ways than one. Structural moving engineer Bill Patram of Fairfax, Virginia, now a retired silver-haired septuagenarian with a booming baritone voice and a vivid memory, recalls the job to move the old Adas Israel synagogue as a “good project.” Despite the challenges of the weather, a miniconflagration, the usual hassles with city bureaucrats, and one collateral casualty—in the form of a dead pigeon—the transition of the 237-ton object from Sixth & G Streets to Third & G Streets, NW, went mostly according to plan. Saved from destruction by an act of Congress after Metro officials appropriated the original site, the future home for the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington and the Lillian and Albert Small Jewish Museum would never have survived without the crafty logistical skills of a specialist like Patram.

Download interview with "Wild Bill" Patram (PDF)

Our first annual report! 0 Comment(s)

We're thrilled to introduce our first annual report! Inside its pages, you will read about our 2008 major achievements, exhibitions, public programs, youth programs, member/donor benefit events, professional development, archival accessions, grants and contributions, new members, volunteers, and finances. It's chock-full of photos and details. We hope you enjoy it and welcome any feedback.