Twenty-one years ago, homeowner Stephanie Slewka made a fascinating discovery on the second floor of her 19th century townhouse at 415 M Street, NW: a mural concealed beneath layers of paint and wallpaper. As if peeling back layers of time, she found one of the only remaining traces of Shomrei Shabbos, a small orthodox community in downtown Washington that worshiped in the townhouse. The nearly 90-year-old mural was the upper portion of a larger piece that had surrounded the synagogue’s ark on the floor below.
Decades later, that same mural is in danger. Plans to convert the building into condominiums threaten the survival of this unique piece of Washington Jewish history.
Thanks to Samantha Bass and Zachary Paul Levine of the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington for the guest post!