Jewish Historical Society searches for new head

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Laura Apelbaum Jewish Food Experience
Laura Apelbaum
Jewish Food Experience

This fall will be a time of transition for the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington. Not only is its museum preparing to move, but the society is seeking a new executive director.

Laura Apelbaum, the executive director, resigned in July after 22 years. In the interim, longtime staffer Wendy Turman is serving as deputy director in charge of day-to-day operations.


Apelbaum could not be reached for comment. Society President Russell Smith said Apelbaum had indicated that she had “decided to see if there were other opportunities” in the area. He said Apelbaum earned the museum a reputation for “excellent programming.”

“We’re very grateful to her for the amazing career she had at the historical society,” he said. “She was tremendously committed and built the society into the strong organization into what it is today.”

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Smith said Apelbaum’s successor must be particularly strong in the areas of “organizational operation, programming and outreach.”

Wendy Turman Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington
Wendy Turman
Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington

“We’re looking for somebody who has the breadth of experience and vision to be more than an executive director,” he said. “The title that that person has is not as important as their ability to be part of this transition.”


To make room for the Capitol Crossing mixed-use project over I-395, officials are preparing to move the society’s Lillian and Albert Small Jewish Museum from its current location at 3rd and G Streets to a temporary location. By 2019 it will be moved again to 3rd and F.

Smith said that he hopes the move will be one that will “integrate the wonderful collection of our historical archives with a museum that is able to relate to the broader community what role the Jewish community has played in Washington as a national capital and a world capital.”

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