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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.