Fifty years ago, the foundations of Jewish Washington were shaken to their core. For millennia, the synagogue — known in many Ashkenazi communities by the Yiddish term “shul” — had always been the focal point of Jewish communal life. During the 1960s and in the decades beyond, the fitful history of the shuls of Washington reflects not only the upheaval that occurred then, but also offers a look at the great changes that shaped the community until the present day.
Since its first venue opened in 2003 in Hollywood, California, bowling alley chain Lucky Strike has expanded to 18 locations across the Unites States, including DC, New York City, San Francisco, Phoenix, Chicago, Houston, and Philadelphia. Kol HaBirah talked with Lucky Strike’s Director of Marketing, Brandon Thomsen, and National Director of Sales Kirsten Carpenter about the chain’s origins, its expansion to Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda, Maryland, and its collaboration with the Jewish community.
Fifty years ago, in April of 1968, the majority of the small retail stores, and the wholesale businesses that supplied them, were owned by Jews. There were several reasons for this. First and foremost was the bigotry that limited their numbers in the professional ranks and in the larger national chain stores. That left the grocery and liquor stores, which were the smallest and cheapest businesses to buy. For many Jews, to be in business for themselves was seen as the way to control their own destiny and have the best chance of success. Second was the economic reality that it didn’t take a lot of money to open a store. A month’s rent, some money for merchandise, and you were open for business.
My first clue that we had signed up for something special was when a veteran parent told me, “You have to bring tissues. Trust me.” It was September when we had this conversation, as the HaZamir DC group was easing into their weekly rehearsals at the Bender Jewish Community Center (JCC) in Rockville, Maryland. I filed away that information, but didn’t quite process the meaning.
On Friday night, April 12, 1968, the Jews of Washington sat down at their Seder tables to begin the holiday of Passover. But instead of the joy and happiness that the holiday usually brings, the mood was much different: There was fear, anger, and great despair. A cauldron of rage had boiled over Washington, D.C., and vast stretches of the supposedly riot-proof city lay in smoldering ruins. Though the entire city was affected, the pain would be deeply felt by the Jewish community, and the consequences of those terrible days would affect that community for decades to come.
After finding out that the CD really wasn’t the greatest thing since sliced bread after all, its predecessor, the vinyl LP album, has made a stunning comeback. Record stores are beginning to re-appear, and you can now buy hundreds of different types of turntables. What needs to make a comeback now is the ability to sit patiently and listen to an album, an uncommon skill in today’s internet world.
For Israeli-American composer Sharon Farber, music runs in her blood. Her grandparents played guitar and mandolin, her mother was a ballerina, and her writer/composer uncle’s “Hallelujah” landed Israel first place in the 1979 Eurovision competition. A revamped version was even selected as the official song of the 70th anniversary celebration of the State of Israel.
Seventy-three years after the liberation of Auschwitz, 66 percent of U.S. millennials — and 41 percent of Americans overall — cannot identify what Auschwitz is, according to a recently released study commissioned by The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. Statistics like these, coupled with the dwindling number of living Holocaust survivors, illustrate the need to develop new ways to document the Holocaust and educate future generations about the atrocities that occurred.
On Tuesday, April 10, Professor Michael Brenner, director of the American University Center for Israel Studies, spoke about his new book: “In Search of Israel: The History of an Idea.” The event was co-sponsored by the Center for Israel Studies, the school’s department of history, and the Jewish studies program.
Preserving the Republic of Cape Verde’s rich but little-known Sephardic Jewish history was the subject of “The Moroccan Jews of Cape Verde,” a program hosted March 10 by Magen David Sephardic Congregation of Rockville, Maryland. The evening featured remarks by the island republic’s Ambassador Carlos Wahnon Veiga, who is of Moroccan Jewish descent, and Carol Castiel, president of the Cape Verde Jewish Heritage Project (CVJHP).
The Second Annual Multifaith Film Fest, which will take place March 8-11 at the Bender Jewish Community Center (JCC) in Rockville, Maryland, aims to build bridges among local faith communities. The film fest, presented in partnership with the Israeli American Council and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, will feature six films, selected for their focus on identity, discovery, and common values.
- Israeli Artist Idan Raichel Wows the Crowd With Solo Performance in Bethesda
- Henny Youngman Comes to Class
- Porgy and Bess: An Intersection of Black and Jewish American Theater History
- The Master Singer of His People
- Local Descendants of Holocaust-Era Hero and Those He Rescued Host Film Screening in DC
- Get Together with Friends at Elli-Chai’s New Game Gallery
- To My Mother, Roslyn Shor, on Her 17th Yartzeit
- Celebrating Israel Through Cinema and Song
- Har Tzeon-Agudath Achim’s Kol Ish Shabbaton is a Rousing Success
- Sunday Nights at Seven