Sixth & I Historic Synagogue

The Sixth & I Historic Synagogue is a non-denominational, non-membership, non-traditional Jewish synagogue located at the corner of Sixth Street and I Street, NW in the Chinatown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. It is one of the oldest synagogues in the city. In addition to hosting religious services for different Jewish denominations, the synagogue hosts many lectures, concerts, and art exhibitions for the general public.

History

The building was constructed by the Adas Israel congregation and dedicated on January 8, 1908, near what was then the main commercial district in town and the center of the Jewish community in Washington. In 1951 the congregation moved to a new building on Connecticut Avenue and sold its building on the corner of 6th and I Streets, NW to the Turner Memorial A.M.E. Church. The church in turn moved to Hyattsville, Maryland fifty years later.

Three local Jewish developers saved the historic building from being turned into a nightclub and preserved it to its original roots as a synagogue. The main impetus for the restoration came from real estate developer Shelton Zuckerman, who contacted Washington Wizards owner Abe Pollin, who in turn contacted Douglas Jemal. Working from wedding photos from 1949, the building was returned to its original design and decor. It was rededicated and opened to the public on April 22, 2004.

Sixth & I has been recognized by The Slingshot Fund in 2007-2008 as well as 2008-2009. Slingshot recognizes "the 50 most inspiring and innovative organizations, projects, and programs in the North American Jewish community today." Furthermore, in 2009, Sixth & I was named one of America's 25 most vibrant congregations in Newsweek magazine.

Cultural events

Guest speakers have included Elie Wiesel, Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, Salman Rushdie, Jhumpa Lahiri, Nancy Pelosi, David Gregory, Chris and Kathleen Matthews, George W. Bush, Annie Leibovitz, Lewis Black, Toni Morrison, Tom Brokaw, A.B. Yehoshua, Rob Riggle, Amy Sedaris, and John Kerry.

Bands and singers have included Idina Menzel, Bryan Adams, Adele, Grizzly Bear, Idan Raichel Project, Yael Naim, Beirut, Joanna Newsom, Antony and the Johnsons, M. Ward, Devendra Banhart, Marc Broussard and Matisyahu.

Worship

Sixth & I Synagogue carries six sets of prayer books representing all Jewish denominations. The synagogue has five restored Torah scrolls that survived The Holocaust, including one of just thirteen to survive from Węgrów, Poland.

Partnerships

Sixth & I partners with a wide variety of local and national organizations, including Politics & Prose Bookstore, IMP, National Geographic, B'nai B'rith, Slate, The New Republic magazine, Taglit-Birthright Israel, The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, JDub Records, and many others.

Building Activity

  • OpenBuildings
    OpenBuildings updated a digital reference
    about 5 years ago via Annotator
  • OpenBuildings
    OpenBuildings updated 2 digital references and added a digital reference
    about 5 years ago via OpenBuildings.com