Lillian and Albert Small Jewish Museum
German Roots in Washington

  • Small Jewish Museum, 2015 Photo Credit: Bruce Guthrie
    Small Jewish Museum, 2015

Lillian and Albert Small Jewish Museum, housed in the historic Adas Israel Synagogue, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the oldest surviving synagogue in the District of Columbia. The synagogue was built by German Jewish immigrants who broke off from Washington Hebrew Congregation, and President Ulysses S. Grant attended its dedication in 1876 at the invitation of Simon Wolf.

The historic synagogue was originally located at 6th and G Streets, where the Washington metro system now has its headquarters.A plaque marks the spot. The building was moved to its current location 701 Third Street NW in December 1969. In early August 2010, it was announced by the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington that the synagogue will be moving again, eventually to a permanent location at Third and F streets NW. The current site will be redeveloped for commercial use.