West End Museum Celebrates Jewish Heritage Month

Residents of Jewish descent comprised one of the largest ethnic populations in the melting pot of Boston’s old West End. To celebrate that fact, and recognize two individuals for their important contributions, the West End Museum, located at 150 Staniford St., will host its annual Jewish Heritage Night on Thursday, May 16, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. This year’s honorees are Henry Barr and Colonel Alan L. Gropman. The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

“Henry and Alan are examples for generations to come, so people will always remember the West End was anything but a slum. It was a neighborhood of remarkable people,” said Museum board member Paul Senecal. “Then and now, they epitomize commitment of service to the greater community.”

Both gentlemen have contributed to preserving the history and culture of the West End and the Jewish American history of the neighborhood. They also have actively participated in neighborhood events and organizations such as the West End House and its summer camp. 

Barr is a second generation West End House camper. He has served as president of the Alumni Association of the West End House and the Boys and Girls Club Corporation, as well as on the West End House Board of Directors, and continues to work with both organizations. An active participant in other nonprofits, Barr has been honored with the 21st Century Award of the Mass Bar Association. He is a graduate of UMass Amherst and Boston College School of Law, and holds an MBA from Suffolk University.

Gropman grew up in the West End and is an alumnus of the West End House and West End Camp. He received both his B.A. and M.A. from Boston University. A decorated retired U.S. Air Force colonel, Gropman has 27 years of active duty, serving various assignments as a C-130 navigator. That included two tours in Vietnam, where he flew over 670 combat missions, and service as a war planner in Europe. Colonel Gropman has a PhD in history from Tufts University and the National War College. He later became an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and George Mason University, and has authored four books and over 600 articles. 

Bill Margolin, a former West End Museum Jewish heritage honoree who has served the West End House and the West End House Camp for five decades, will introduce Barr. Brookline Police Deputy Superintendent Michael Gropman, the Museum’s treasurer, will introduce his uncle, Colonel Gropman. Museum Director Duane Lucia will present the honoree awards, and Senecal will deliver the closing remarks.

A small concurrent exhibit commemorating National Preservation Month and Memorial Day will feature an Honor Roll Plaque from the West End House listing the names of the young men who served in WWI and WWII. A display case will feature letters written home and other memorabilia.

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