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Adas Israel Congregation (Washington, D.C.)

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Adas Israel, located in the Cleveland Park neighborhood, is the largest Conservative synagogue in Washington, D.C.


Adas Israel Synagogue

Original Adas Israel synagogue located at 3rd and G Streets, NW

Adas Israel Synagogue DC

Current location of Adas Israel synagogue at 2850 Quebec Street, NW in Cleveland Park

The congregation was founded in 1869 by 69 members of the Washington Hebrew Congregation who objected to that congregation's move towards Reform Judaism.

Sermons were given in German until the congregation dedicated its first building in 1876 at Sixth and G streets.[1] That building has been restored by the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington and is now the Lillian & Albert Small Jewish Museum. The building, the oldest surviving synagogue building in Washington, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the D.C. Inventory of Historic Sites, and the Historic American Buildings Survey. It is among the oldest synagogue buildings still standing in the United States.[2] It is also an official project of the Save America’s Treasures program.[3]

Jacob Voorsanger served as rabbi from 1876 to 1877, before going on to a distinguished career as the rabbi of Congregation Emanu-El (San Francisco, California).

After the assassination of President James Garfield, Adas Israel led the effort that founded a hospital in memory of the slain President. The hospital later merged into the Washington Hospital Center.[1]

Adas Israel participated in the meeting that led to the founding of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America in 1898, but did not join the organization. Instead, it hired Rabbi Morris Mandel, the first rabbi ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. The congregation did not, however, join the Conservative Movement until 1948.

In 1908 the congregation built the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue.

In the 1930s the congregation rescued Rabbi Hugo Schiff and his wife by bringing them from Karlsruhe, Germany. Schiff became assistant rabbi. Entry visas could sometimes be obtained for Jews who had offers of employment.

The present building, at Connecticut Avenue and Porter Street, was dedicated in 1951.

The current rabbi is Gil Steinlauf.[2]

External links

Coordinates: 38°56′13″N 77°03′27″W / 38.9369°N 77.0575°W / 38.9369; -77.0575


  1. 1.0 1.1 Olitzky, Kerry (1996). The American Synagogue. Greenwood Press. pp. 89–91. 
  2. Rediscovering Jewish Infrastructure: Update on United States Nineteenth Century Synagogues, Mark W. Gordon, American Jewish History 84.1 (1996) 11-27 [1]

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