Sixth & I Historic Synagogue
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Sixth & I is a center for arts, entertainment, and ideas and a synagogue that reimagines how religion and community can enhance people’s everyday lives. 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.
|Sixth and I Historic Synagogue|
Sixth and I Historic Synagogue in 2006
|Leadership||Shelton Zuckerman, president|
Heather Moran, executive director
|Location||600 I Street NW, Washington, D.C., United States|
|Style||Moorish Revival, Romanesque Revival, and Byzantine Revival|
|Dome height (inner)||69 feet (21 m)|
|Dome dia. (inner)||25 feet (8 m)|
|Materials||vitrified brick and terra cotta|
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 restored it to its original roots as a synagogue. The main impetus for the restoration came from real estate developer Shelton Zuckerman, who contacted then 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.
Cultural events and live entertainmentEdit
Sixth & I’s arts and culture programming—including talks, concerts, and comedy shows—entertains and enlightens the widest possible audience with innovative experiences that fuel curiosity, spark inspiration, and promote interaction with preeminent thought leaders and pop culture influencers. Speakers and authors have included Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, John Paul Stevens, Elena Kagan, and Sandra Day O’Connor; Secretaries of State John Kerry, Colin Powell, Madeleine Albright, and Condoleezza Rice; Nobel Laureates Toni Morrison, V. S. Naipaul, Orhan Pamuk, Kazuo Ishiguro, Elie Wiesel, Al Gore, Sir Paul Nurse, Kofi Annan, Paul Krugman, and Daniel Kahneman; President George W. Bush, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Salman Rushdie, Judy Blume, Sheryl Sandberg, Mindy Kaling, Joan Rivers, Chimamanda Adichie, Atul Gawande, Nancy Pelosi, Annie Leibovitz, Lewis Black, Temple Grandin, Van Jones, Tina Fey, Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush, Cecile Richards, and Ina Garten.
Bands and singers have included Adele, Idina Menzel, Valerie June, Brooklyn Rider, Andra Day, Kris Kristofferson, Bryan Adams, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Art Garfunkel, LeAnn Rimes, Grizzly Bear, Idan Raichel Project, Yael Naim, Ani DiFranco, Joanna Newsom, Antony and the Johnsons, M. Ward, Devendra Banhart, Fiona Apple, Laura Marling, Marc Broussard, Kishi Bashi, Gavin DeGraw, Trey Anastasio, Rodriguez, Mick Jenkins, Esperanza Spalding, and Matisyahu.
Comedians have included Hasan Minaj, Amy Schumer, Marc Maron, W. Kamau Bell, Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter, Whitney Cummings, Rachel Bloom, Todd Barry, Nick Kroll, Joe Mande, Russell Howard, Norm Macdonald, and the Upright Citizens Brigade Touring Company.
Sixth & I’s Jewish programming—including education, Shabbat services, holiday celebrations, and social justice work—offers dynamic ways for those primarily in their 20s and 30s to engage with Jewish values, ideas, and traditions on their own terms and without judgment. As a multi-denominational and non-membership spiritual home, Sixth & I works to foster community among people at a similar stage of life, figuring out what matters to them and who they want to be. During the High Holidays, Sixth & I rents space from nearby churches to accommodate over 3,000 people.
Sixth & I partners with a wide variety of local and national organizations, including Politics & Prose Bookstore, Live Nation, The New York Times, Washington Performing Arts, The Atlantic, Story District, The MacArthur Foundation, the 92nd Street Y, National Geographic, Slate, HIAS, the Jewish Emergent Network, OneTable, and many others.
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