The idea and concept for this exhibit first emerged at the time of the 90th anniversary of the Ansha Sholum synagogue in 2009. We had collected various pictures and documents that deserved to be saved and combined into a chronological order. For the anniversary celebration, the images and accompanying texts were enlarged and mounted so that they could be displayed on the second floor of the sanctuary. Our own pictures were complemented by images from the collection of the Lawrence History Center. This first exhibit, entitled “Cross the Spicket:” Lawrence’s Congregation Ansha Sholum, was opened on November 8, 2009, in an anniversary celebration attended by many guests and designated as “Ansha Sholum Day” by then-Mayor Michael Sullivan of Lawrence.
During the following years, we discussed putting the anniversary exhibit into some more permanent form by mounting images and texts on 11 large panels. In between the panels, additional framed documents and pictures would complete our review of the 100 years of the congregation’s growth since 1919. We celebrated the completion of this project with two openings: on October 27, 2019, at the shul itself, and on December 1, 2019, in the gallery of the Lawrence Heritage State Park. The latter showing also proved that the panels could be used as a traveling exhibit. And now, the present digital version contains all the contents of our 2019 anniversary project and will make it possible to share widely what we recorded and celebrated at Ansha Sholum. To conclude, we would like to emphasize two points regarding the scope of the Ansha Solum at 100 exhibit:
- The exhibit is largely image — not text —based. We are able to show only what we have pictures of. Much more narrative of the shul’s history remains to be discovered, and we invite anyone to send memories of the congregation’s history to email@example.com.
- We have often included pictures from the history of the larger Lawrence Jewish community so as to provide context. But we cannot claim to outline the history of that community in general.
In both regards, more comprehensive histories remain to be written.
To aid any researchers in studying Lawrence’s Jewish past, we offer an Appendix at the end of this digital exhibit where we list any existing source materials and completed reports and publications, in gratitude to the Lawrence History Center, where most such resources are housed.