Not able to join us at services? You can still participate by telephone. Dial 202-895-6333 to reach our "listen in" line and experience our services from anywhere in the country or around the world.
קחו עמכם דברים ושובו אל יהוה….
Take words with you and return to Adonai.(Hosea 14:3)
At the heart of our Congregation are services that uplift, reaffirm, and connect us to Judaism and each other. Come for Shabbat. Celebrate a holiday. We have many different styles and offerings - you're sure to find (at least!) one that speaks to you.
Welcome to Washington Hebrew Congregation's live streaming. From the moment of our founding, WHC has embodied the spirit of inclusion and extended an open embrace to all families in the greater Washington, D.C. area. We are delighted to be able to broaden this vision virtually, providing instant access to worship and special events online.
Friday, March 31 at 6:00 pm
Albert & Shirley Small Chapel
Please select the service location below to view this week's stream.
We conduct several types of Shabbat worship throughout the year. From traditional Friday night services to ones focused on music, a holiday, or a particular group, there's sure to be an offering that's right for you.
Often featuring special life cycle events like B'nei Mitzvah, our Saturday services will help you honor the special separation between Shabbat and the rest of the week.
The High Holy days give us an opportunity to celebrate and reflect. As one of the largest Reform congregations in the country, we offer our members several options for High Holy Day worship.
We hold a beautiful, candlelit service at Temple the Saturday night before Rosh Hashanah. With its meaningful and compelling liturgy, Selichot is a service designed to prepare Jews around the world for the spiritual odyssey of the High Holy Days.
We welcome the New Year with a variety of worship experiences for every age and stage of life. At our foundation are Congregational services at Temple with moving sermons from our rabbis, and the beautiful, harmonious voices of our cantors accompanied by the festival choir. We offer an innovative, outdoor, musical Erev Rosh Hashanah service at JBSC, and services at Temple for young Jewish professionals in their 20s and 30s, families with preschoolers, and families with school age children.
Beginning with the Kol Nidre and its soul-stirring prayers, the Day of Atonement provides our congregants with many options for community prayer and personal reflection at Temple.
Festive or solemn, the Jewish holidays give us an opportunity to gather as a community and experience the history and traditions of our faith. We observe and celebrate several of our holidays at special family-friendly Shabbat services that include festive onegs and often, Shabbat dinners which enhance our feeling of community.
In Ancient Israel on Sukkot, Passover, and Shavuot, every Jew was obligated to make a pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem. The entire nation would come together to appear before God and make joyous offerings. These Three Pilgrimage Festivals remain among the holiest days in the Jewish calendar. On Sukkot, Simchat Torah, Passover, and Shavuot, we hold special festival services with psalms, music, and Torah readings. The Yizkor service, which gives us a chance to reflect and remember, is a part of the festival service on Simchat Torah, Passover, and Shavuot.
With our worship spaces and sukkah beautifully decorated by the WHC Sisterhood, we shake the lulav and etrog and celebrate the fall harvest festival at Temple with a festival service on the first day of the holiday. Sukkot is also one of the major festival holidays during which we recite Yizkor. This service is held on the last day of the holiday at Temple.
We celebrate this holiday at a congregational family Shabbat service with special Torah readings that enable everyone to see the readers complete the Torah and start anew with B'reishit! We parade and dance with the Torahs and consecrate our new Religious School students by calling them to the bimah for a special blessing.
The Sanctuary is aglow with lights from our congregants' hanukkiyot as we celebrate the victory of the Maccabees over the Syrian army and the rededication of the Temple.
This is a most fun and joyous holiday! At the Shabbat service closest to Purim, we read Megillat Esther and make a ton of noise every time Haman's name is mentioned. Children and adults alike come to Temple dressed in costumes to go along with our annual theme. On the Sunday following this Shabbat Purim celebration, we host our annual Purim Carnival at JBSC with games, prizes, and lots of hamantashen!
The week-long holiday of Passover, in which we celebrate our Exodus from Egypt, gives us several opportunities to come together as a community, including Congregational and Young Professionals seders, our festival and Yizkor services, and a Freedom seder we host for our interfaith neighbors.
Shavuot is the festival which celebrates when God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses at Mount Sinai. Shavuot is Hebrew for "weeks," and this holiday symbolizes the seven weeks during which the Israelites traveled through the desert after their Exodus from Egypt. This holiday marks the fourth and final time during the Jewish calendar when we say Yizkor prayers.
In Judaism, mourning is both private and public. When we visit a grave or observe a yahrzeit – the anniversary of one’s death – we generally do so in private. Yizkor is the public observance, the memorial service, for the community of bereaved. Yizkor means "may God remember." It comes from the root word zachor (to remember). The service has four parts:
- A series of readings and prayers that sets the mood for the solemn service.
- Passages that are read silently, recalling a departed father, mother, husband, wife, son, daughter, other relative, a friend, or Jewish martyrs. Each person reads the passages that are pertinent.
- The chanting by the cantor of El Male Rahamim (God Full of Compassion).
- The congregational recitation of Av HaRahamim (Ancestor of Mercies) as a memorial for all Jewish martyrs and Psalm 23.
Although in its traditional structure Yizkor does not include the recitation of the Mourner's Kaddish, many congregations – including Washington Hebrew Congregation – do add this prayer to the service.
We recite Yizkor not only on Yom Kippur, but also on the festival holidays of Sukkot, Passover, and Shavuot.
The Jewish calendar is lunisolar (based on the moon phase and the time of the solar year), and periodic adjustments are made to keep it in line with seasonal cycles. The yearly shift in the timing of our holidays can make it confusing to track on the civil (Gregorian) calendar. This listing is a quick guide to help you find where this year's holidays fall on the civil calendar.
Jewish holidays begin and end at sundown.