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Special VIP Guests on Arlington National Cemetery Walking Tour 0 Comment(s)

Yesterday I had the amazing experience of accompanying Ambassador and Mrs. Michael Oren on our walking tour of Jewish "sites" in Arlington National Cemetery. Volunteer guides Les Bergen and Ernie Marcus provided a terrific insider's tour.

The most touching moments were watching the Israeli Ambassador place stones atop the headstones of one of Hadassah's first two nurses in Palestine in 1913-- Rae Landy and on the grave of Justice Arthur Goldberg. The Ambassador, a history professor himself, gave a wonderfully inspiring talk at the grave of Orde Wingate-- the British officer who was the father of the Israeli IDF teaching the nascent Jewish army how to fight. Orgate was killed along with other Brits and Americans when their plane was downed in the Burma theater during WWII.

It was a day filled with JHSGW programming -- uber-volunteer Marc Livingston led a walking tour of downtown DC, David McKenzie led an exhibit tour of Jewish Washington now on display at the Historical Society of Washington, and Maryann and Al Friedman hosted a salon for members to view their incredible collection of Hudson River School paintings.

A Busy Fall of Programs 0 Comment(s)

As usual, we had a Fall full of programs! Luckily, the weather held out for most—although some brave souls endured the rain to learn about local Jewish history.

The past few weeks, we’ve had some large groups of students take walking tours of downtown Washington.

On the cold, rainy morning of October 18, our new volunteer Sheryl and I led a group of 52 kids, many of their parents, and Rabbi Joui Hessel from Washington Hebrew Congregation, and on a sunny—but no less cold—Wednesday morning last week, our Archivist/Curator Wendy, Administrator Joel, new volunteer Laura, and I led 80 tenth graders from the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School.

If you haven’t been on one yet, we start our downtown tours at the Lillian and Albert Small Jewish Museum, originally the Adas Israel synagogue, and proceed to visit the second home of Adas Israel (today Sixth and I Historic Synagogue), former home of Ohev Sholom (today Chinese Community Church), and the former home of Washington Hebrew Congregation (today Greater New Hope Baptist Church). Along the way, we talk about what life was like for the Jews who lived, worked, and worshipped in this neighborhood in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

But our walking tours don’t just cover downtown Washington.

On October 25, I had the privilege of leading a tour through Old Town Alexandria on a beautiful fall day. This was only the second we’d led this program, but, judging by the 40 people who came out, we’ll be doing it again! This tour, which we developed to coincide with our Jewish Washington exhibition at the Lyceum in the spring, highlights the sites of formerly Jewish-owned businesses, homes, and two former synagogues.

The same day as the Alexandria walking tour, I also led a program called “Synagogue Story” for a group of second graders from Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation. The 19 kids in this phenomenal group learned about our historic 1876 synagogue, then made their own models of it to use as tzedakah (charity) boxes!

And to top it all off, our new volunteers Matt and Laura gave a tour of our exhibition Jewish Washington: Scrapbook of an American Community to the new 30s-40s group at Adas Israel Congregation, and our longtime volunteer Mark gave a tour of our exhibition Jewish Life in Mr. Lincoln’s City to a group from Beth El Hebrew Congregation and Temple Rodef Shalom.

As you can see, we’ve had a busy—but enjoyable—fall at JHSGW. We hope to see you at an upcoming Programs!