One of the Historical Society’s most popular events is tours of downtown Jewish Washington. Open to the public in the fall and spring, staff members are also on hand for private events. This morning, Interpretive Programs Manager David McKenzie and I met with a group of 17 Jewish communal professionals for a tour organized by The Jewish Federations of North America.
We started at the Lillian and Albert Small Jewish Museum, formerly the home of Adas Israel Congregation and the first synagogue in the Washington area, to discuss the migration of Jewish groups into the capital and the literal migration of this building from 6th and G to 3rd and G streets in 1969. Outside, we braved the humidity to walk around 7th Street, once a neighborhood with a sizeable Jewish minority in the 19th and early 20th centuries. We also saw the sites of former synagogues-turned-churches as well as the revitalized Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. Perhaps the most quirky, if not momentous historical artifact was when David showed us an iron rung for tying up horses on the side of the road, one of the few still left standing in the city.
David also talked about plans in the works to move the historic 1876 Adas Israel synagogue yet again, this time to 3rd and F streets, and answered a few questions for a Ha’aretz reporter. For more information on setting up walking tours with the Society in Washington, Old Town Alexandria, or Arlington National Cemetery, click here.
Intern Rachel Mauro is a Master of Library Science candidate at the University of Maryland.