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Reviving Roots Of A Community

Guest Debbi Wilgoren

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Guest Debbi Wilgoren

By Debbi Wilgoren

Washington Post Staff Writer


Two menorahs stand to either side of the ark at the front of the synagogue, sentries again after gathering dust in storage for decades. The rose window has been rebuilt. Most Friday nights, the sanctuary fills with the voices of people singing Sabbath prayers. A bar mitzvah was celebrated in February; a wedding and two baby namings are planned for May.


Fifty-three years after it was converted to a Christian church, and less than two years after it was offered for sale as a possible nightclub or restaurant, a 96-year-old synagogue in downtown Washington has become a center of Jewish life.


The Sixth & I Historic Synagogue will be formally rededicated tonight in a ceremony that has attracted hundreds of participants. Older Jews, who remember the synagogue as the home of Adas Israel Congregation, will join members of Turner Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church, which owned the building in the second half of the 20th century. There will also be families of those who worshiped at the synagogue, those who have noticed the renovation of the building and those who have attended some of the more than 50 religious and cultural events there since November.


People are so excited and emotional," said the executive director for the building, Judith Levy, who has grown ...

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