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About Us

שמעון הצדיק…היה אומר, על שלושה דברים העולם עומד--על התורה ועל העבודה ועל גמילות החסדים.

Simon the Just would say, "The world stands on three things: On Torah, on worship and righteous deeds."

(Mishnah Avot 1:2)

About Us

The theologian Martin Buber said, "God can be found in all relationships." Washington Hebrew Congregation has been demonstrating that truth for over 160 years. Finding meaning in our relationship to worship, to knowledge, to social justice, but most of all in our relationship to one another. A vibrant community that is as diverse as it is inclusive, as large as it is intimate, as concerned with the world as it is with the needs of every individual; it is a community that is caring and compassionate. Our passionate pursuit of Reform Judaism provides excellence in education, youth engagement, life cycle celebration, and community building. Washington Hebrew Congregation, where we, 3,000 families, have continued to come to find a meaningful relationship with modern Judaism and the warmth and wonder of God. Join us where the relationships you form will last for generations to come.

History

Washington Hebrew Congregation’s long and rich history reflects our deep sense of tradition and our ability to evolve and grow.

WHC was established in 1852 when the streets of Washington were unpaved and the Capitol building was only half finished. From our earliest beginnings, we have provided a spiritual, educational, and cultural home to Reform Jews in the Washington, D.C. area. As a community, we have prayed together, celebrated together, and stood together in the face of life's challenges. We have raised our voices in protest in the face of injustice. When people have been hungry, we provided sustenance; in times of crisis, we have worked to strengthen resolve. Whether it is marching to promote civil rights or fighting against atrocity and genocide around the world, tikkun olam has been a cornerstone of our community. Read more about our history and our clergy.

WHC
WHC

Washington's first Jewish congregation began in 1852 when twenty-one German-speaking immigrants met in a home on Pennsylvania Avenue. Fearful that the opportunity to hold property would be denied a Jewish congregation, our founders petitioned Congress, and on June 2, 1856, President Franklin Pierce signed an Act of Incorporation establishing Washington Hebrew Congregation.

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Senior Rabbis
Senior Rabbis

In our history of over 160 years, only six senior rabbis have led Washington Hebrew Congregation. Their vision and dedication have guided our Congregation and have greatly contributed to our growth and evolution.

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Leadership

Clergy
Clergy

Our dynamic and dedicated clergy lead Washington Hebrew Congregation through worship, life cycle events, lifelong learning, and everyday outreach.

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Lay Leadership
Lay Leadership

As our governing body, the Board of Directors represents the dedication of our Temple family to Reform Judaism and our community.

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Staff
Staff

Our talented team is dedicated to delivering the most rewarding experience to each member and guest who engages in the Washington Hebrew Congregation community.

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Membership

Become a part of Washington Hebrew Congregation’s warm and nurturing community.

Our Temple is a welcoming family that enriches our spiritual, intellectual, and social lives. Caring and inclusive, we encourage the exploration of Reform Judaism and the deepening of faith. WHC provides a sense of belonging and community through our innovative services, comprehensive programming, and meaningful activities. We are singles, couples, seniors, and students. We are traditional and non-traditional, Jewish and interfaith families. Find a home at Washington Hebrew Congregation!

Benefits of Membership
Benefits of Membership

WHC offers a warm and welcoming community where you can build a meaningful Jewish life. When you become a member of WHC, you become part of a vibrant and caring Jewish community that will allow you to grow spiritually and intellectually; enrich your Jewish identity; engage in meaningful acts of social justice; share holidays and joyous occasions with our multigenerational congregational family; rely on its support in times of need; and make lifelong friends.

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Annual Contribution
Annual Contribution

At Washington Hebrew Congregation, membership is based on a fair-share policy. Members are asked to make an annual "Fair Share" contribution based on their own individual giving ability. No individuals or families will be denied membership due to financial circumstances.

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Join WHC
Join WHC

Welcome to Washington Hebrew Congregation. We are delighted that you have chosen to become part of our community.

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Year in Review
Year in Review

From a sweet Rosh Hashanah to our festive Annual Meeting in June, 5777 has been an extraordinary year of impact at Washington Hebrew Congregation. We appreciate that you have been a part of it. Please join us for a look back at some of the highlights in our "Year in Review."

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WHC 175: Envision Our Future
WHC 175: Envision Our Future

In 2027, just 10 years from now, WHC will celebrate 175 years of being one of the leading Reform congregations in the nation. This special anniversary gives us all the opportunity to consider the future for Washington Hebrew Congregation, and we would like our entire congregational family — members new and old, ECC families, 2239’ers, and Metro Minyan worshippers — to participate in this process.

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Dinner with David
Dinner with David

Good Food. Good People. Good Conversation.

Are you a Temple member? Would you like to get to know our WHC President and other Temple members in a casual, meaningful way? We are trying something new this year and invite you to sign up to join WHC President David Astrove and his wife, Debbie, at their home for a Shabbat dinner.

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Spring into WHC
Spring into WHC

Learn, listen, travel, laugh, see, and do! “Spring into WHC” and explore all the experiences and opportunities Washington Hebrew Congregation offers for the first half of 2017.

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Pastoral Care

Our clergy and staff support, celebrate, and comfort members of the Washington Hebrew family.

We are a caring community that fosters responsibility toward one another. Today, it has become difficult to find out about those who are ill, those who are in the hospital, or those who are in need of visitation in their homes. We rely upon our congregants to help inform us of friends and relatives who are ill. When you hear of someone who is in the hospital or one who is in need of a phone call or visit, please click here.

In the event of a death, please notify the Temple immediately at 202-362-7100. During business hours you will be directed either to Nancy Misler or Steve Jacober. They will guide you through the process for preparing for the funeral. If after business hours, the message on the Temple phone will direct you either to Nancy (202-320-1674) or Steve (240-778-5227). Together with our clergy, our staff will be with you to support you during this time of need.

Facilities

Located on two campuses, our facilities reflect the spirituality, warmth, and sophistication of Washington Hebrew Congregation.

Temple
Temple

In 1952, President Harry S. Truman laid the cornerstone of our present building, which was dedicated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1955.

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Julia Bindeman Suburban Center
Julia Bindeman Suburban Center

Dedicated in 1978, the Julia Bindeman Suburban Center was erected to meet the needs of our growing congregation, as members moved out of the District to the suburbs.

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Memorial Park
Memorial Park

Established in 1873, this historic cemetery has been serving the Temple's members as a final and befitting resting place.

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Garden of Remembrance
Garden of Remembrance

In 2000, Washington Hebrew Congregation was instrumental in establishing the region’s only not-for-profit cemetery open to members of all Jewish congregations as well as those unaffiliated with a congregation.

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