Washington National Cathedral Wins $100,000 in Preservation Funds

RNS photo by Annalisa Musarra

Scaffolding now crowns the central tower of Washington National Cathedral. RNS photo by Annalisa Musarra


The Washington National Cathedral, still recovering from a rare 2011 East Coast earthquake, has won $100,000 in preservation funding after being the top vote-getter in the “Partners in Preservation” campaign.

The cathedral will receive all the money it requested from the campaign sponsored by American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It will help pay for inspection and repair of its nave’s vaults following the quake that hit the Washington area.

“We are overjoyed by this vote of support for our restoration efforts,” said the Very Rev. Gary Hall, dean of Washington National Cathedral, which sustained $20 million in damage.

Father Abraham and the Jews

RNS photo courtesy David James/Disney-DreamWorks II.

Daniel Day Lewis as Lincoln in the film ‘Lincoln’. RNS photo courtesy David James/Disney-DreamWorks II.

Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln will probably nab a few of its 12 nominated Academy Awards when the Oscars are handed out on Sunday — a sign that Americans never have and probably never will tire of our 16th president.

Abraham Lincoln’s face is etched in stone on Mount Rushmore and his brooding statue sits enshrined in a Greek-style temple in Washington. His succinct Gettysburg Address (about 270 words) took all of about two minutes to deliver, yet remains this nation’s most famous speech 150 years later. His assassination lifted him to mythic status — a martyr who earned his place in our pantheon of national heroes.

We just marked the 150th anniversary of his Emancipation Proclamation, but that necessary action wasn’t enough. Spielberg’s film revives Lincoln’s second act, in 1865, to pass the Thirteenth Amendment to abolish slavery through a divided Congress. It wasn’t the only injustice Lincoln worked to correct.

In his recent book, When General Grant Expelled the Jews, Brandeis University Professor Jonathan D. Sarna recounts an important but little-known event in 1863 in Lincoln’s quest for full civil, religious, and human rights for all Americans — this time, for American Jews.