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.
5:30 pm Lay Led Shabbat Service
For those who prefer an earlier, more intimate Shabbat experience, we offer a service at Temple every Friday from September through May that is led by congregants well-versed in our liturgy.
6:00 pm Shabbat Service
This is Washington Hebrew Congregation's main Friday night service led by our rabbis and cantors. Some follow the traditional Shabbat format with liturgy and a sermon; others focus on music or are geared toward a particular group and are described below.
Since 2012, the Irene & Abe Pollin Music Program Initiative has provided a broad range of special musical events to enhance our Shabbat worship experience. From an interfaith exploration of the Psalms to contemporary jazz, a cappella, and Middle Eastern music, our offerings are as special and diverse as Washington Hebrew is itself.
Each month, we provide you with a spiritual, musical, and uplifting way to end your week. With upbeat tunes, some new music, and more English, Shirei Shabbat (Shabbat of Songs) is certain to engage and delight.
We have reshaped D.C.'s Shabbat scene for Jewish 20s and 30s and made Shabbat accessible for young Jewish professionals living and working in Washington, D.C. Once each month Rabbi Miller and Rabbi Skloot go to where the young Jews are—near the Metro—at a rotating list of locations. The services draw between 150-250+ young Jewish adults every month. The evening begins with "A Shot of Torah"—an opportunity to study the weekly Torah portion and dive into some serious (and not so serious) Jewish discussion. The service itself is engaging, guitar-led, and "come as you are." We dine together at a Shabbat dinner catered by an on-trend restaurant and end the night with a social gathering at a nearby location.
Our rabbis and song leaders make going to Friday night services a fun, fulfilling event for families with young children (or grandchildren). Held monthly at Temple and the Julia Bindeman Suburban Center, these services last about a half hour and teach Jewish prayers, traditions, and rituals through songs, stories, and art projects. Join us before the 6:00 pm service at the Julia Bindeman Suburban Center and after the 5:00 pm service at Temple for a family-style (and family-friendly) dinner.
On Friday evenings throughout the school year, we offer regular opportunities for families to pray, reflect, and welcome Shabbat together. These participatory, multigenerational services begin at 6:00 pm and are not only a wonderful way for children, parents, and grandparents to connect and grow, but also provide a perfect opportunity for students to put their Hebrew learning into practice! These services are open to our entire WHC community.
Sometimes focused around a holiday, sometimes organized to foster a feeling of community, there are several opportunities throughout the year for Religious School students and their families to not only come together for a Shabbat service but to also experience creating and leading a service with Director of Religious School Education Stephanie Tankel and our Religious School Music Director Audrey Katz.
Each year, we pay tribute to the values of our religion and congregation at these special Shabbat services:
- Honoring our Veterans
- Honoring Jewish authors during Jewish Book Month
- Honoring the work of Dr. Martin Luther King
- Honoring our Confirmands and the Religious School and ECC teachers who are celebrating their 18th years at WHC
During the summer, we bring the relaxed, casual feel of long, sunny days to our Friday night services. Taking advantage of our beautiful grounds at both Temple and JBSC, we hold Shabbat Under the Stars outside (weather permitting, of course) once a month at each location from June through August.