RIJHA shines a spotlight on Hahn Memorial


PROVIDENCE – National Park Ranger Andrew Schnetzer gave an engaging talk about the Hahn Memorial, in the Roger Williams National Memorial, during the Rhode Island Jewish Historical Association’s 73rd Annual Spring Meeting, held on May 19.

Samuel Turco, RIJHA’s archivist, introduced Schnetzer, who is a ranger at the Roger Williams memorial.

Schnetzer said the memorial spans 4.5 acres and is the only national memorial in New England with a separate memorial inside, the Hahn Memorial.

Schnetzer delved into the history of the Hahn family, tracing their journey from New York City to Providence in the 19th century. Isaac Hahn, a prominent Jewish businessman and community leader, was remembered for his contributions to various industries and his civic engagements, including his tenure in the Rhode Island General Assembly and his role in establishing the Sons of Israel and David Synagogue.

Isaac’s son, Jerome Hahn, played a significant role in Rhode Island’s legal history. He was the second Jew to pass the Rhode Island Bar Exam, and later served as an associate justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court. Jerome Hahn was also notable for his involvement in significant legal and civic projects, such as the relocation of the Stephen Hopkins House.

Judge Hahn donated the memorial to Providence in 1932 in memory of his father. An octagonal well is the centerpiece of the memorial’s small courtyard and is traditionally considered the source of the Roger Williams Spring. The memorial was donated to the National Park Service in 1965.

Prior to Schnetzer’s talk, RIJHA President Harold Foster addressed the audience, highlighting  RIJHA’s recent accomplishments, including a partnership with the Sandra Bornstein Holocaust Education Center, in Providence, and digitizing RIJHA’s archive to make it accessible to the general public.

He then introduced Mel Topf, the Nominating Committee chair, who presented the proposed slate of officers and board members for the upcoming year. All nominees were approved unanimously.

The new officers are: president, Linda Lotridge Levin; 1st vice president, David Bazar; 2nd vice president, Lowell Lisker; secretary, Ruth Breindel; treasurer, Larry Ginsberg; and past president, Harold Foster.

Board members with terms ending in 2025 are Cynthia Benjamin, Deborah Carr, Lawrence Katz  and W. Robert Kemp. Board members with terms ending in 2026 are Cliff Karten, Marilyn Myrow, Judy Rosenstein and Giovanna Wiseman.

On June 9, RIJHA and the park service will host a talk at the site of the Hahn Memorial at the Roger Williams National Memorial, 282 North Main St., Providence. If you would like to attend this free event, call RIJHA’s office at 401-331-1360 or email Jaime Walden at office@rijha.org.

JAIME WALDEN, of Cumberland, is the office manager for the Rhode Island Jewish Historical Association.

RI Jewish Historical Assn, Hahn Memorial