The Schmooze

Ulysses S. Grant's Washington Synagogue

Crossposted from Samuel Gruber’s Jewish Art & Monuments

On a few previous occasions I have mentioned visits of heads of state to synagogues. One of the most significant such occasions in American history was the visit 135 years ago of President Ulysses S. Grant to the dedication of the new synagogue in the national capital city of Washington, D.C. On June 9, 1876, shortly before the nation’s centennial, Adas Israel Congregation dedicated its modest building made festive for the occasion with flowers, “festoons of evergreens,” and American flags over the Ark.

Adas Israel was established as an traditional (Orthodox) congregation in 1869. The synagogue was built at the corner of 6th and G Streets, NW, then part of the city’s residential and commercial center, after many years of planning and fundraising. The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington now maintains the former synagogue, which was moved to a different site in 1969, as a museum.

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Ulysses S. Grant's Washington Synagogue

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