WHC Story: Samantha “Sam” Sloane

There were four criteria that shaped American University second-year law student Samantha “Sam” Sloane’s decision to join Washington Hebrew last summer: “community, kids, kindness, and social justice.” She found all four when she attended WHC’s virtual Hanukkah celebrations in December. “When I went to the candle lighting for the first night and introduced myself and said I was new, I instantly felt welcome, and it felt like being part of a big Jewish family.”

“Everyone I have met has just been so kind. It made me so happy to see all the kids online when we were doing the candle lighting. For me, children are so incredibly essential to Judaism. Growing up, I always felt that I was important and belonged in that (synagogue) community. L’dor v’dor, we want to keep things going; kids are really important and bring such life to Judaism.

Tikkun olam, healing the world, is important to Sam. “I recently walked past the synagogue and saw the big Black Lives Matter sign. Knowing that the synagogue supports movements like that is important. For me, it’s the bedrock of Judaism.”

Sam, who grew up in Denver, Colorado, plans to settle in Washington when she finishes law school. When she first moved to D.C., she thought, “I could do without a synagogue,” but realized that “why I want to go into law is largely due to Jewish values, especially tikkun olam, and I think that for me not having a synagogue makes it harder. Being in a completely different state, on the other side of the country—having a synagogue feels really nice. It makes me feel that I have a safe and happy place to go to.”

Sam notes that her decision to join WHC reflects her view that being a member of a synagogue is a way to express Judaism. “(Washington Hebrew) is really where I can settle down. It’s where I can plant my roots. It makes me feel at home.”


See how WHC has reimagined membership to make affiliating with our community a warm, welcoming reality for young professionals like Sam.

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