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The Whole Spiel

The Story of Katz’s Kosher Supermarket

December 28, 2023

Thanks to a very special NEW additional match challenge from board member Gene Sofer and his wife Judith Bartnoff, all new and increased donations will be matched four times, up to $4,000, until December 31. The Museum will receive three dollars for every dollar donated to QUADRUPLE YOUR IMPACT.

Your support allows the Museum to capture and tell the incredible stories of our community that inspire us to work toward a better tomorrow.

One such story is about Chaim “Charles” Katz and his wife, Betty.

Charles and Betty were originally from Poland and had survived World War II living on the run with the Jewish Underground. Thankfully, in 1949, they were sponsored to move to the United States and settled in the Washington, D.C. metro area. Only a year later, Charles and Betty had saved up enough money and purchased Star Market on Georgia Avenue, NW where Charles had worked as a butcher.

In the following years, the Jewish population migrated to the western suburbs. The business followed suit and soon was renamed “Katz’s Kosher Supermarket.” In 1976, it took up shop in a much larger space in Rockville, where it operated until 2004 when Charles retired and sold the business that the Katz’s had spent over 50 years building.

Hard-working entrepreneurs and Holocaust survivors who were fortunate to find success in America, Charles and Betty grew Katz’s into the largest Kosher supermarket in the entire region.

Charles and Betty’s story is an inspiration, just as so many other extraordinary stories of Jewish Washingtonians. The Museum preserves Charles and Betty’s story and the story of hundreds of other members of our community. We want to continue to collect even more objects and artifacts to be able to share the fullness of our community’s history.

As the year comes to a close, please make a gift to the Capital Jewish Museum. This special match will be added to the $35,000 match generously provided by board chair Esther Safran Foer, and her husband Bert, with board member Chris Wolf and his husband Jim Beller. By making a gift before December 31, you could help the Lillian and Albert Small Capital Jewish Museum access nearly $40,000 in matching gifts. Allow your gift to have quadruple the impact to help us preserve even more incredible stories and share the legacy of incredible Washingtonians, like Charles and Betty.

Color photograph of the interior of Katz’s Kosher Supermarket at 20 University Blvd East, July 1970. Capital Jewish Museum Collection. Gift of Alex Mates.