The Weekend in Review

Washington Hebrew Congregation welcomed leaders and members of area churches and mosques at several special events celebrating the life and legacy of civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

On Shabbat, the NAACP’s new president and chief executive officer, Cornell William Brooks, addressed an audience of over 500 people at a lively service that also featured the Shiloh Gospel Choir, the Artists Group Chorale, and WHC’s Kol Rinah.

Mr. Brooks, who has a background as a minister, lawyer, and human rights activist, inspired the congregation with an electrifying speech focusing on the future as much as the past. While discussing recent tragic events that have shaken the African American community, like the shooting death of Michael Brown, Mr. Brooks noted that the only way to make this country better is to find a way to move forward together. He also spoke on the importance of tolerance and equal rights for all people regardless of race or creed.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day was a “day on” for tikkun olam at WHC. Almost 400 Temple members, Catholic University students, members of area churches, and individuals from the local community joined together to volunteer during WHC’s annual MLK Day of Service. Some attendees were new to WHC and to performing service on MLK Day, but came to Temple in search of a meaningful way to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

There was a wide variety of projects available for participants. Together, our volunteers:

•    sorted and packed 44 boxes of donated clothing;

•    turned over 100 yards of fleece into 71 blankets;

•    stuffed 400 grocery bags with items for making healthy soup;

•    made 500 treat bags for area children;

•    put together 543 tuna noodle casseroles;

•    chopped 1,200 pounds of vegetables for soup;

•    assembled 3,046 healthy snack packs;

•    packed 19,008 WHC Hunger Project meals;

•    and more!

Participants moved among the projects looking for places where they were needed. No project was left unfinished!

Thanks to the volunteers’ hard work, the following organizations were helped: Abram Simon Elementary School, Bread for the City, Bethesda Cares, Capital Area Food Bank, Children’s Inn at NIHDC Central Kitchen, Friendship Place, Hypothermia Hotline, Interfaith Works, JoAnn Leleck Elementary School at Broad AcresMartha’s TableMontgomery County Coalition for the Homeless Men’s Shelter, Nourish Now of Montgomery County, and SOME (So Others Might Eat).

On Saturday evening, WHC hosted the NFTY@75 Alumni Reunion Concert in cooperation with Temple Beth Ami, URJ Camp Harlam, Temple Emanuel, Temple Rodef Shalom, and Temple Sinai.

The North American Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY) celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2015 and is on a mission to reconnect with 75,000 alumni over the course of this year. The concert, which featured NFTY favorites Dan Nichols & EighteenJeff Klepper, and Alan Goodis, was the first official anniversary event of this initiative. It attracted over 350 attendees, and helped NFTYites past and present recapture that special NFTY feeling.