The President’s Blog

In a few short weeks, the High Holy Days will be upon us. We will join together as a community once again to celebrate the New Year and to repent for personal shortcomings of the prior year. The Days of Awe are a time for optimism, hope, renewal, reflection, and introspection — both personal and as a community. By reflecting on the past and committing to improve, we set a personal and collective agenda for the coming year.

During the quiet summer months, the Board and lay leaders continued our work, and I would like to share with you just some of the things you can expect to see and experience at Washington Hebrew Congregation in the coming months. The Board of Directors has adopted a capital budget that includes, among other things, the purchase of new database software that will enable WHC to serve the needs of the Congregation more efficiently and the installation of new carpet in Kaufmann Sanctuary.

Board members are also leading WHC’s efforts to help people fleeing strife overseas for safety and a new life in America. They have attended workshops, and Washington Hebrew Congregation is now on a list of congregations that are interested in supporting a family as they resettle in the D.C. area. Details of ways in which congregants can participate in this effort will be announced in the coming months.

In response to the changing investment environment predicted by many financial experts, the Investment Committee has met with a number of institutional financial advisors to explore the potential benefit of engaging a firm to advise investment decisions for the Temple’s endowment.

Throughout the summer, the Washington Hebrew Congregation clergy and staff have also been hard at work to ensure your High Holy Day experience, from services and sermons to facilities and resources, will be most meaningful. I would like to highlight a couple of special opportunities. On Erev Rosh Hashanah, we hold Rosh Hashanah Under the Stars at the Julia Bindeman Suburban Center. If you will attend this service, I encourage you to arrive early, bring food to enjoy before the service, and listen to live musical performances. This is a service that is perfect for multigenerational families. Suits and ties get the night off, as dress is more “business casual.” WHC staff will have chairs set up outside for your comfort, but many people bring lawn chairs and blankets as well. If it does happen to rain, which we are grateful has never been the case, WHC staff are prepared and will have an identical setup indoors.

On Rosh Hashanah Day, WHC’s Community Oneg and “Meet WHC” Fair at Temple, which premiered last year with great success, will be back again in an expanded capacity. To enable even more congregants to gather together, celebrate the New Year, and learn about the incredible opportunities that will be offered through our programs, auxiliaries, and committee events, WHC will hold two sessions of the Oneg and Fair. The first will begin after the 9:00 am Congregational Service and the other after the 11:30 am Congregational Service. I hope you will stop by before or after your service to reconnect with friends and begin to learn all about what WHC will offer you in 5778.

The journey for spiritual fulfillment and meaning is both challenging and satisfying, and I encourage you to consider taking advantage of some experience that you have not done before. Come to Tashlich after the Family Service on Rosh Hashanah. Spend the afternoon of Yom Kippur at Temple in worship, reflection, and study, then stay to break the fast with your WHC friends and family after the conclusion of the Neilah service. Washington Hebrew Congregation provides so many opportunities … let the sound of the shofar awaken your spirituality and see where it takes you.

I wish you all a meaningful and fulfilling month preparing for and experiencing the High Holy Days this year.