Making a SEA Change

SEA Change graphic - blue wave and orange background

WHC’s Journey to Social Action and Community Building

By Josh Weinberg and Karen Herron

The Jewish philosopher Maimonides wrote that to be considered part of the Jewish people, you cannot just do the feasts and fast alone, you must do them together with community. For him, piety finds a dance partner in participation.

Indeed, when we show up, when we are together, we become bigger than ourselves. Whether it’s to celebrate, to grieve, to learn, or to act, it’s made better and stronger by community.

SEA Change taps into the superpower of togetherness. Almost four years ago, an idea was hatched to educate one another on the most pressing social issues holding people back from living full and equitable lives. Then, instead of just learning about the challenges, we’d learn how to effectively organize and act to create real and lasting change in our community.

S-E-A stands for Study-Engage-Act, and that is exactly how Washington Hebrew members, clergy, and staff have proceeded from classes to community organizing and action with groups like Action in Montgomery (AIM), Jews United for Justice, and Interfaith Power & Light. After identifying areas of concern to our members, SEA Change works to address the many faces of inequity, both internally and externally in our community.

And Washington Hebrew is not alone. Our SEA Change colleagues are linked with other Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist congregations across the DMV. Our work is further amplified through interfaith coalitions that build bridges and strengthen relationships across lines of difference.

SEA Change has fought for early childcare expansion in Maryland, advocated for affordable housing through rent stabilization in Montgomery County, and most recently, lobbied for health, housing, and climate justice to ensure that state funding for climate solutions makes its way to those living in low- and moderate-income housing.

But the work of SEA Change is not just external facing, it is building community within our Congregation. The creation of WHC’s LGBTQ+ and Jews of Color affinity groups is a product of our members. Events like Pride Shabbat and Juneteenth Shabbat are now staples of our congregational calendar. And WHC is actively working on greater inclusion for members with different abilities to fully participate in all aspects of Temple life.

As we enter the secular new year, we invite everyone to discover SEA Change programs and opportunities. Whether it is working with our interfaith partners to lobby local officials or with our clergy and lay leaders to strengthen our community of belonging, there are numerous ways to raise and share your voice.

To get involved in WHC Social Justice, visit, and search “SEA Change” or reach out to Karen Herron ( or Laura Loeb (