Washington, D.C., has been the U.S.' capital and government hub
since 1790, and you would be hard-pressed to find a U.S. city with
a richer culture and history. A piece of that history, one of
Washington's oldest synagogues, is located in the city's Chinatown
neighborhood at the northwest corner of Sixth and I
streets—Sixth and I Historic Synagogue.
The synagogue was constructed for Adas Israel congregation
during 1906-08 and was the first building in Washington with a
reinforced concrete foundation. In 1951, the congregation moved and
sold the building to Turner Memorial African Methodist Episcopal
Church, which renovated the building's exterior and interior. The
building was again put up for sale in 2002 when the Episcopal
congregation announced plans to relocate.
Jewish Historical Society Executive Director Laura Cohen
Apelbaum launched an effort to reacquire the building for the
Jewish community to use. After the property was nearly sold to a
buyer who planned to turn the building into a nightclub, three
local real estate developers purchased the building, pledging to
turn it into a Jewish community facility. During the next several
years, the building's interior and exterior were restored to their
original 1908 appearance.
Sixth and I Historic Synagogue has since been rededicated for
use by the Jewish community. Former President George W. Bush
visited the synagogue Sept. 14, 2005; the synagogue was recognized
as one of the 50 most innovative Jewish organizations in the U.S.
in 2007; and in 2009, Newsweek named Sixth and I Historic
Synagogue one of the 25 most vibrant...
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