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Yom Kippur

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. 

As with Rosh Hashanah, we offer Congregational, Young Professional, Preschool, Family, and Teen services. Many congregants find themselves spending much – or all – of the day at Temple, and we offer a selection of study sessions in the late morning and early afternoon. The afternoon also brings a poetry and music hour, Afternoon, Yizkor, and Neilah services, and an opportunity to break-the-fast as a community.

Service Descriptions

Congregational Services
Suggested for: Adults and Teens
With liturgy from Gates of Repentance as a foundation, our clergy connect us to the generations that came before us. Our rabbis challenge the intellect and awaken the spirit with sermons that help us reflect on our past year and inspire us to move forward. Our cantors, joined by the Festival Choir, bring the beautiful music of the High Holy Days to life with voices that lift us up and guide us toward spiritual renewal.

All Congregational services will once again have open seating for worshippers with the exception of WHC’s Historic Seat holders who can request to use their Historic Seats at the 6:00 pm and 9:00 am services.

About Historic Seats: To help finance the construction of the Temple building on Macomb Street in 1955, Washington Hebrew gave its members the opportunity to contribute to our future by investing in High Holy Day seats. The original seats could be passed down one generation, after which they return to the open pool of High Holy Day congregational seats.

Family Services
Suggested for: Families with Children in Grades K – 6 and “Babies to Bubbies”
At Family services, our clergy and song leader — with participation from Religious School students — use a High Holy Day prayer book created especially for elementary school-age children and families. Filled with meaningful prayers, music, and stories, this worship experience brings families together and helps connect children to their heritage and faith.

Preschool Services
Suggested for: Families with Toddlers through Pre-Kindergartners
Through songs, brief prayers, and stories, our clergy and song leaders create a special, warm community worship experience, one-half hour in length, for our youngest congregants and their families.

Young Professionals Services
Suggested for: Young Professionals in their 20s and 30s
Building on the energy and spiritual connection our monthly 2239 Metro Minyan services bring to Washington, D.C.’s Jewish young professional community, Rabbi Miller will lead High Holy Day services designed specifically with millenials in mind. Erev Rosh Hashanah and Kol Nidre services will be held at First Congregational UCC, located at 945 G Street NW, Washington, DC. On Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur mornings and on Yom Kippur afternoon, 2239 services will be held at Temple. Temple members should RSVP to Valerie Hillman Bluestein. Non-members should click here to register online.

Yom Kippur Teen Service
Suggested for: Teens
Topical, interactive, and creative, this service gives high school students a meaningful way to connect to their faith and teshuvah (repentance). Designed each year by and for high school students, it weaves liturgy and music with messages and themes to engage teens (and their parents who sometimes accompany them).

Yom Kippur Study Sessions
Suggested for: Adults, Young Professionals in their 20s and 30s, and Teens
To enhance the spirit of Yom Kippur and enable congregants to extend their personal reflection, we offer a variety of study sessions and panel discussions after each Congregational service on Yom Kippur morning. Advance registration is not necessary. The Study Session schedule will be published prior to the High Holy Days.

Yom Kippur Poetry and Music Hour
Suggested for: Adults and Young Professionals in their 20s and 30s
On Yom Kippur — the holiest of holidays — our cantors, Kol Rinah, and Festival Choir lend their voices to soul-stirring musical pieces and poetry selections giving congregants time to reflect upon their year and teshuvah (repentance) or to simply experience a moment of solitude and personal prayer.

Yom Kippur Afternoon, Yizkor, and Neilah Services
Suggested for: Adults, Young Professionals in their 20s and 30s, and Teens
These three services flow seamlessly from one to the next. Our clergy begin with the liturgy designed for the afternoon of Yom Kippur. Yizkor, the memorial service, follows. This holy day closes with Neilah — the short concluding service which features some of the most beautiful and sacred liturgy of the High Holy Days.

Service Schedule

Kol Nidre, Friday, September 29

Congregational Service*
6:00 pm at Temple

Family Service*
7:00 pm at Temple

2239 Service
7:45 pm at First Congregational UCC
Temple members should RSVP to Valerie Hillman Bluestein. Non-members should click here to register online.

Congregational Service*
8:45 pm at Temple

Yom Kippur Day, Saturday, September 30

Congregational Service*
9:00 am at Temple

Preschool Services
9:30 am and 11:00 am at Temple

Congregational Service*
11:30 am at Temple

Study Sessions
Throughout the day, beginning at 11:15 am at Temple

Family Service*
2:00 pm at Temple

Teen Service
3:15 pm at Temple

Poetry and Music Hour*
3:15 pm at Temple

Afternoon, Yizkor, and Neilah*
4:00 pm at Temple

2239 Afternoon, Yizkor, and Neilah
4:00 pm at Temple
Temple members should RSVP to Valerie Hillman Bluestein. Online registration for non-members will open soon.

*Service will be streamed at streaming.whctemple.org.

Travel & Parking Information

Off-Site Parking

Our complimentary off-site parking is the most convenient and stress-free way to park for High Holy Day services. Safe, comfortable, climate-controlled shuttle buses will run throughout the holidays, bringing you from off-site parking to the Temple’s door and back. When using off-site parking, please add 25 minutes to your travel plans for the shuttle to ensure you arrive at Temple in time for your service.

On Erev Rosh Hashanah, Rosh Hashanah Day, Kol Nidre, and Yom Kippur Day, parking will be available at St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral and National Presbyterian Church. On Yom Kippur Day, parking at St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral is only available until 3:00 pm. For more information about these parking options, please see below.

Erev Rosh Hashanah, Rosh Hashanah Day, Kol Nidre, and Yom Kippur Day
Shuttles begin at 5:00 pm on Erev Roshanah and Kol Nidre. On Rosh Hashanah Day and Yom Kippur Day, shuttles begin at 8:00 am.

St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 2815 36th Street NW, Washington, DC 20007

Traveling south on Wisconsin Avenue:
After crossing Massachusetts Avenue, make the first left onto Garfield Street. Cross Massachusetts Avenue a second time, the Cathedral parking lot will be located on the right.

National Presbyterian Church, 4101 Nebraska Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20016

Located at the intersection of Nebraska Avenue and Van Ness Street NW near American University and NBC, the parking lot is accessible from Van Ness.

Temple Parking

Parking in the Temple lot is very limited and permitted only with a special WHC High Holy Day parking pass. Note: those with government-issued handicapped tags will also need a WHC-issued parking pass to gain entry to the lot.

Street Parking

Please remember that WHC is located in a residential neighborhood. We ask everyone to respect the property, comfort, and safety of our neighbors and take care not to park in front of private driveways, fire hydrants, or other restricted areas. All non-time restricted parking regulations will be strictly enforced. WHC is not responsible for any fines or penalties imposed for illegal parking.

If you choose to park on neighboring roads during High Holy Day services, options include the McLean Gardens neighborhood (38th Street, 39th Street, Idaho Avenue, Macomb Street, Newark Avenue, Porter Street, and Rodman Street) where weekly two-hour parking restrictions have been eased.

Parking will continue to be restricted on Wisconsin Avenue; inbound lanes of Massachusetts Avenue from 7:00 - 9:30 am; and outbound lanes of Massachusetts Avenue from 4:00 - 6:30 pm.