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Rosh Hashanah and the Days of Awe that follow provide a wonderful opportunity for us to reflectâ€…on the many blessings and challenges of the past year and connect with our hopes and aspirations for the year ahead. During this time, we can each get lost in our deepest personal thoughts while being a part of this warm and vibrant community.
Looking back on 5776, I know that our Congregation has much for which we can be thankful. We are blessed with exceptional clergy, teachers, staff, and volunteers. Our magnificent facilities are a welcoming home for the incredible array of Jewish worship, scholarship, service, and fellowship opportunities presented each month. And whether a joyous life cycle event or moment of sorrow, Washington Hebrew Congregation is here to celebrate, support, and comfort.
Social justice and tikkun olam were strongly represented in our 5776 programming year. Below are just a few of the many noteworthy examples.
Journey for Justice
On the day after Rosh Hashanah, we opened our doors to hundreds of marchers for the final prayer service of the 1,000-mile NAACP America’s Journey for Justice.
Sukkot: A Time of Action
This incredible and inspiring week of learning and social justice engaged more than 2,500 adults, teens, and children with programs and worship on the themes of hunger and homelessness, immigration, and race relations.
Volunteers at Temple, JBSC, and locations throughout D.C. participated in the 25th anniversary of Mitzvah Day with projects that showed we are “25 Strong.”
Pray for Peace: Let’s Stop Gun Violence
Public health experts, law enforcement, survivors, and advocacy groups came to WHC for an interfaith evening of education and training aimed at curbing gun violence.
Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence
This yearlong Congregational Conversation had us consider the causes of religious violence and how we can use our faith as a positive force for change. The conversation concluded with an interfaith service and dinner of dialogue — “Faith over Fear: Choosing Unity over Extremism” — that brought more than 250 members of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim communities to Temple.
As you each consider the past and look toward the coming year, I hope you will plan to take advantage of the many programs and spiritual experiences WHC offers in 5777.
Pick up a copy of Fall into WHC at Temple during the High Holy Days. It will guide you to myriad opportunities no matter your interest or stage of life. Information about our programs and events can also be found on our website, in this beautiful new WHC Journal, and in our weekly e-newsletter, Life@WHC. And as always, I invite you to contact me with any suggestions or concerns. Frankly, hearing from you about the ways in which WHC meets your spiritual needs and helps you to find meaning and fulfillment in your life would be appreciated as well!
I pray that this will be a sweet New Year for you and your loved ones. One that is filled with the blessings of health, happiness, and peace.
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