Spaces for Jews of Color & LGBTQ+

By WHC Members Allie Heiman and Joshua Maxey

We need to see ourselves in our community. Whether it’s meeting other young families at Tot Shabbat, singing with the Women of WHC at the Women’s Seder, or pointing at our Confirmation picture on the walls, to walk the halls of Macomb Street or the Bindeman Center and see ourselves represented gives us the sense that we truly belong. Washington Hebrew’s adult and youth groups have helped so many congregants find their social home within our spiritual community. Our Temple is committed to being an inclusive community where every person feels welcome and comfortable to participate fully in congregational life. We are excited to share that our Temple is living that value and has established new groups for those who identify as Jews of Color (JOC) and those who identify as LGBTQ+.

The LGBTQ+ and JOC groups will offer ways for self-identified community members of all ages to come together in joy, study, and prayer. They will provide opportunities where we can speak openly and freely about the intersectionality of our identities without fear of microaggressions or the occasional quizzical glances. For both of us, this initiative is personal, offering spaces we wish we had seen and of which we were a part when we were raised in our respective religious institutions growing up.

Join Us for Kickoff Events

Our JOC and LGBTQ+ groups will kick off with a pair of events. We invite people who identify as Jews of Color to join us at Temple on Friday, August 13, for WHC’s Shabbat Service, followed by a dinner with the JOC community. The next morning, Saturday, August 14, our new LGBTQ+ group will launch with a special brunch following WHC’s Mimosa Minyan service. These initial gatherings let us come together, meet each other, and begin to build and deepen our community connections.

We also invite our allies and friends who do not identify as Jews of Color or LGBTQ+ to continue to engage with and support our efforts as we strive to make these two new groups permanent at WHC. Know of someone who may benefit from one of these groups? Let them know! If you would like to honor a friend or family member by making a donation to support one or both of these groups, please get in touch with Eliza Prince, WHC’s Director of Development, at or 202-895-6312. The support of the congregation will be vital as we look to future programming.

Washington Hebrew has long been an advocate of social justice, fighting for equity and inclusion in the greater community. This past year, the S.E.A. Change Racial Equity Roundtable, a joint project between WHC and Rockville, Maryland’s B’nai Israel, has helped us look inside as well. WHC’s new LGBTQ+ and Jews of Color groups are a step toward actively living our values of inclusivity out loud. We want everyone in our community to be able to experience the joy of belonging.

To the Jews of Color and LGBTQ+ members of our congregation: We are excited to welcome you to these new groups so we can gather in love, fellowship, and shared experience. As Jews of Color and LGBTQ+ Jews, we proudly proclaim, “hineni!”

To learn more about these two new groups and how you can participate or support these efforts, please contact Joshua Maxey (Jews of Color) or Allie Heiman (LGBTQ+).