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How Well Do You Know Annapolis?

Can you find this Star of David?

The Commodore Uriah P. Levy Center and Jewish Chapel are named after the Academy’s first Jewish commodore and a later owner of Monticello.
    Here’s a trivia question for you. What is the only United States government building with a Star of David on the front? Clue: it’s in Annapolis on the grounds of the United States Naval Academy.
     Before 2005, Jewish naval midshipmen were marched to a local synagogue for services. That trek became unnecessary when the Commodore Uriah P. Levy Center and Jewish Chapel was completed — with a ­Jewish star on its front.
    The chapel is part of the Naval Academy. Still, some $6 million of the almost $8 million cost was raised privately. Many contributors were Jewish alumni of the Academy. The Friends of the Jewish Chapel, organized to centralize donations for the chapel construction, continues to provide funding — including a spring break trip to Israel — to enhance the religious and cultural lives of the brigade of midshipmen.
     Uriah P. Levy was the Academy’s first Jewish commodore. He is known for his refusal to flog his sailors, a common form of punishment in his day.
    The copper-roofed building, designed by Joseph Boggs, houses the magnificent 410-seat Miller Chapel. The very high ceiling design gives the feeling of being aboard a ship. One wall of the sanctuary is made of stone representing the Temple Wall in Jerusalem. Wedding rentals are made to alumni, staff, faculty and active military personnel living in the area.
     The Stein Fellowship Hall, which is part museum and part learning center, is also in the building. In addition to information on Commodore Levy (including his purchase of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello) are exhibits about Jewish naval graduates, Navy athletes and personnel. It is also home to a Judaic Library. Offered in Levy Center classrooms are Hebrew classes, and studies of the Torah and Jewish history.
     Lt. Steve Ballaban, the rabbi of the chapel, invites all to services Friday evenings at 7:15pm when midshipmen are on the yard: 410-268-0169 (rsvp).