Exhibit Examines Washington’s Jewish Community

Exhibit Examines Washington’s Jewish Community

Posted April 27, 2007 at 4:40pm

An exhibit honoring Jewish achievements in the nation’s capital will make a one-week stop at the Russell Senate Office Building beginning today.

Laura Apelbaum, executive director of the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington, said the display in the second-floor Russell Rotunda will feature panels from a larger exhibit that previously was shown at the National Building Museum, titled “Jewish Washington: Scrapbook of an American Community.”

The goal of the exhibit, which was sponsored by Sen. Benjamin Cardin

(D-Md.), is to show the relationship of the community to the federal government and to help commemorate May as Jewish History Month.

Diane Goldman, program coordinator for the JHSGW, is excited about the exhibit’s weeklong jaunt in Russell and the range of individuals who potentially will pass through.

“One of the truly wonderful things about this setting is that it’s such a diverse group of people in terms of where they’re coming from, geographically, people from all over the country and possibly all over the world, as well as staff from the Hill,” Goldman said.

Using a poster series and sequence of photographs, “Jewish Washington” aims to chronicle the roles of influential national figures, including Presidents Ulysses S. Grant and Dwight Eisenhower, Chaplain Alexander Goode, Arthur Goldberg and Golda Meir, in the development of Jewish society in Washington.

“The whole purpose of the exhibit was to debunk myths that people have about the Jewish community here in Washington,” Apelbaum said.

Ann Belkov, vice president for the JHSGW, said that by showing the exhibit in the Senate this week, “people who work and visit the Hill will be able to have the experience to see what role the Jewish people of Washington, D.C., played in building the government and in building the city.”

The weeklong showcase kicks off today with a gala reception in Room 325 of Russell from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Those wishing to attend are asked to RSVP by calling 202-736-5872 or e-mailing allison.redisch@ujc.org. For the remainder of the week, the exhibit will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Additionally, 45-minute guided tours are available at noon every day and can be reserved by calling 202-789-0900 or e-mailing info@jhsgw.org.

Apelbaum hopes those who visit the display will take away from it the sense of community present among the Jewish demographic in Washington, D.C.

“I think this exhibit shows that … there’s a hometown aspect to the capital city,” Apelbaum said. “It’s always about … the interface of the local community within the national story. I think having the exhibit there … really brings home that point.”