In what might seem to many as highly unusual, and a strange allegiance, Richmond, Va., is home to the Soldiers’ Section at Hebrew Cemetery, believed to be the only Jewish military cemetery in the world outside the state of Israel.
Jewish presence in Richmond predates its designation as a city and state capital, and, for that matter, Virginia’s designation as a state.
Jews were among the colonists who established Jamestown in 1607, and may well have been in the group of 120 men who left that enclave days later to sail up what is now known as the James River, in the first effort to settle an area that today is part of downtown Richmond.
At the time of Richmond’s founding in 1737, Jews were engaged in trade throughout the Virginia Territory. By 1790, approximately 100 of the 3,700 colonists calling Richmond home were Jews. On Shabbat, they gathered at the Orthodox Kahal Kadosh Beth Shalome, a synagogue that followed Sephardic ritual worship.
With the arrival of more Ashkenazi Jews, a second synagogue, Beth Ahabah, was established in 1841. Khal Kadosh Beth Shalome eventually merged with Beth Ahabah, which continues to this day as a Reform house of worship and is the sixth-oldest synagogue in the United States.
Main Entry: thau·ma·turg
Etymology: French, from New Latin thaumaturgus, from Greek thaumatourgos working miracles, from thaumat-, thauma miracle + ergon work — more at Theater, Work
The official blog of the Dramaturgy Department at Baltimore's CENTERSTAGE. For posts related to our current and upcoming shows, click the links to the right. Alternatively, you could begin at the beginning, and explore our posts in chronological order.