Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington | Lillian & Albert Small Jewish Museum

Collections: Objects of the Month

July 2010: Bicentennial Oval Office photograph, 1976

Rabbi Louis Gerstein, Amy Gerstein (left) and Cecile and Dr. Seymour Alpert (right) with President Gerald Ford Archives Record
Object #: 2008.18.6
Donor: Sandra and Dr. Clement Alpert
Description: 6.5"x10" black and white photograph. Rabbi Louis Gerstein, Amy Gerstein (left) and Cecile and Dr. Seymour Alpert (right) with President Gerald Ford (center) on July 12, 1976 in the Oval Office of the White House.

Background: On July 12, 1976, as part of the nationwide bicentennial celebrations, rabbis from six colonial congregations presented President Ford with a Bicentennial letter. Representatives were present from Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim (Charleston, SC), Congregation Shearith Israel (New York, NY), Congregation Jeshuat Israel (Newport, RI), Congregation Mikveh Israel (Philadelphia, PA), Congregation Mickve Israel (Savannah, GA), and Congregation Beth Ahabah (Richmond, VA).

Rabbi Louis Gerstein, who served Shearith Israel for 32 years, posed in the Oval Office with his wife Amy, President Ford, and Dr. Seymour and Cecile Alpert. Dr. Alpert was on the Jewish Bicentennial Commission of Greater Washington. The Alperts were active members of Washington, D.C.'s Jewish community. They were philanthropists and leaders in organizations such as the Jewish Community Council, Israel Bonds, and United Jewish Appeal (a predecessor to The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington).

Do you have materials documenting the D.C.-area Jewish community's bicentennial celebrations? To donate, contact us at info@jhsgw.org or (202) 789-0900.