Menu Washington Hebrew Congregation
About Us

שמעון הצדיק…היה אומר, על שלושה דברים העולם עומד--על התורה ועל העבודה ועל גמילות החסדים.

Simon the Just would say, "The world stands on three things: On Torah, on worship and righteous deeds."

(Mishnah Avot 1:2)

About Us

The theologian Martin Buber said, "God can be found in all relationships." Washington Hebrew Congregation has been demonstrating that truth for over 160 years. Finding meaning in our relationship to worship, to knowledge, to social justice, but most of all in our relationship to one another. A vibrant community that is as diverse as it is inclusive, as large as it is intimate, as concerned with the world as it is with the needs of every individual; it is a community that is caring and compassionate. Our passionate pursuit of Reform Judaism provides excellence in education, youth engagement, life cycle celebration, and community building. Washington Hebrew Congregation, where we, 3,000 families, have continued to come to find a meaningful relationship with modern Judaism and the warmth and wonder of God. Join us where the relationships you form will last for generations to come.

History

Washington Hebrew Congregation’s long and rich history reflects our deep sense of tradition and our ability to evolve and grow.

WHC was established in 1852 when the streets of Washington were unpaved and the Capitol building was only half finished. From our earliest beginnings, we have provided a spiritual, educational, and cultural home to Reform Jews in the Washington, D.C. area. As a community, we have prayed together, celebrated together, and stood together in the face of life's challenges. We have raised our voices in protest in the face of injustice. When people have been hungry, we provided sustenance; in times of crisis, we have worked to strengthen resolve. Whether it is marching to promote civil rights or fighting against atrocity and genocide around the world, tikkun olam has been a cornerstone of our community. Read more about our history and our clergy.

WHC
WHC

Washington's first Jewish congregation began in 1852 when twenty-one German-speaking immigrants met in a home on Pennsylvania Avenue. Fearful that the opportunity to hold property would be denied a Jewish congregation, our founders petitioned Congress, and on June 2, 1856, President Franklin Pierce signed an Act of Incorporation establishing Washington Hebrew Congregation.

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Senior Rabbis
Senior Rabbis

In our history of over 160 years, only six senior rabbis have led Washington Hebrew Congregation. Their vision and dedication have guided our Congregation and have greatly contributed to our growth and evolution.

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Leadership

Clergy
Clergy

Our dynamic and dedicated clergy lead Washington Hebrew Congregation through worship, life cycle events, lifelong learning, and everyday outreach.

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Lay Leadership
Lay Leadership

As our governing body, the Board of Directors represents the dedication of our Temple family to Reform Judaism and our community.

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Staff
Staff

Our talented team is dedicated to delivering the most rewarding experience to each member and guest who engages in the Washington Hebrew Congregation community.

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Membership

Become a part of Washington Hebrew Congregation’s warm and nurturing community.

Our Temple is a welcoming family that enriches our spiritual, intellectual, and social lives. Caring and inclusive, we encourage the exploration of Reform Judaism and the deepening of faith. WHC provides a sense of belonging and community through our innovative services, comprehensive programming, and meaningful activities. We are singles, couples, seniors, and students. We are traditional and non-traditional, Jewish and interfaith families. Find a home at Washington Hebrew Congregation!

Shabbat Dinner with Nell & Ed Shapiro
Shabbat Dinner with Nell & Ed Shapiro

The Shapiros invite you to join them at their home for Shabbat at the Shapiros' — a warm, casual Friday night dinner at their home where members of the WHC community can connect and get to know each other.

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Benefits of Membership
Benefits of Membership

WHC offers a warm and welcoming community where you can build a meaningful Jewish life. When you become a member of WHC, you become part of a vibrant and caring Jewish community that will allow you to grow spiritually and intellectually; enrich your Jewish identity; engage in meaningful acts of social justice; share holidays and joyous occasions with our multigenerational congregational family; rely on its support in times of need; and make lifelong friends.

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Annual Contribution
Annual Contribution

At Washington Hebrew Congregation, membership is based on a fair-share policy. Members are asked to make an annual "Fair Share" contribution based on their own individual giving ability. No individuals or families will be denied membership due to financial circumstances.

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Join WHC
Join WHC

Welcome to Washington Hebrew Congregation. We are delighted that you have chosen to become part of our community.

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WHC 175: Envision Our Future
WHC 175: Envision Our Future

In 2027, just a few years from now, WHC will celebrate 175 years of being one of the leading Reform congregations in the nation. This special anniversary gives us all the opportunity to consider the future for Washington Hebrew Congregation, and we would like our entire congregational family — members new and old, ECC families, 2239’ers, and Metro Minyan worshippers — to participate in this process.

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The Magic of Manevich

After more than 30 years of outstanding service, Washington Hebrew Congregation Senior Cantor Mikhail Manevich will retire and accept the position of Cantor Emeritus on June 30, 2020. 

We are deeply grateful for Cantor Manevich’s many contributions to life at WHC.  His magnificent voice and warmth have moved us spiritually, lifted us up in joy, and brought us comfort during times of sorrow. We treasure him – as both a spiritual leader and a friend – and are glad to have this final year to appreciate and celebrate his gifts.

Save the Dates

Friday, May 1 — Our Macomb St. Shabbat will include an extra celebratory element with a special tribute to Cantor Manevich and a performance by his beloved adult choir, Kol Rinah.

Sunday, May 3 — To honor our Senior Cantor, we are planning a special event – The Magic of Manevich – an evening filled with exquisite food and entertainment.

It would be very meaningful to have your love and support in making this event a success. Proceeds raised from the May 3 event will go to create the Cantor Mikhail Manevich Fund, which will allow us to subsidize and continue to be at the forefront of music and worship. WHC will also dedicate a portion of the funds raised to Hebrew Union College for a cantorial student scholarship, just as Cantor Manevich received when he first came to this country.

With your support, we look forward to a wonderful event in May!

Lyn & Barry Chasen and Susan & Allen Hanenbaum
Co-Chairs

Sponsorship and Tickets
Sponsorship and Tickets

We invite you to become a sponsor or learn more about tickets for the Magic of Manevich on Sunday, May 3. Because of overwhelming response from sponsors, individual tickets will be extremely limited. We expect to have an accurate count and begin selling tickets after January 1, 2020. 

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Pastoral Care

Our clergy and staff support, celebrate, and comfort members of the Washington Hebrew family.

We are a caring community that fosters responsibility toward one another. Today, it has become difficult to find out about those who are ill, those who are in the hospital, or those who are in need of visitation in their homes. We rely upon our congregants to help inform us of friends and relatives who are ill. When you hear of someone who is in the hospital or one who is in need of a phone call or visit, please click here.

In the event of a death, please notify the Temple immediately at 202-362-7100. During business hours you will be directed either to Nancy Misler or Steve Jacober. They will guide you through the process for preparing for the funeral. If after business hours, the message on the Temple phone will direct you either to Nancy (202-320-1674) or Steve (240-778-5227). Together with our clergy, our staff will be with you to support you during this time of need.

Facilities

Located on two campuses, our facilities reflect the spirituality, warmth, and sophistication of Washington Hebrew Congregation.

Temple
Temple

In 1952, President Harry S. Truman laid the cornerstone of our present building, which was dedicated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1955.

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Julia Bindeman Suburban Center
Julia Bindeman Suburban Center

Dedicated in 1978, the Julia Bindeman Suburban Center was erected to meet the needs of our growing congregation, as members moved out of the District to the suburbs.

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Memorial Park
Memorial Park

Established in 1873, this historic cemetery has been serving the Temple's members as a final and befitting resting place.

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Garden of Remembrance
Garden of Remembrance

In 2000, Washington Hebrew Congregation was instrumental in establishing the region’s only not-for-profit cemetery open to members of all Jewish congregations as well as those unaffiliated with a congregation.

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WHC Journal

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Want to see what's going on at WHC this month — or take a look back to see what we've been up to?

Read our newest issue:

Or peruse our WHC Journal library:
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January 2019

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February 2019

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March 2019

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April 2019

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May 2019

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June/July 2019

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August 2019

August 2019

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September 2019

September 2019

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October 2019

October 2019

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November 2019

November 2019

December 2019

Advertise in the WHC Journal

Ads in our printed Journal not only help grow your business, they also help defray the cost of producing Washington Hebrew's monthly magazine. Please contact Jeff Kahn, jkahn@4lpi.com or 419-304-7772, if you would like to learn more about promoting your business or service to nearly 2,500 households every month.

Making a Difference

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At WHC services, programs, and events, the impact our clergy, staff, lay leaders, and members make on our community is apparent. We are also delighted to share with you when that connection is felt beyond our walls.

 
Rabbi Lustig Appointed to the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity

In September, Pope Francis, Dr. Ahmed At-Tayeb – the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, and the Higher Committee for Human Fraternity nominated Rabbi Lustig to serve on the Committee. Of his nomination, he said, "I am honored to join such esteemed individuals working to champion love over hate, justice over injustice, and faith over fear…." Rabbi Lustig is the Committee's only Jewish member and its only American. Click on the links below to read more about the Higher Committee for Human Fraternity and the work they are doing to build bridges between faiths.

UAE to Open Synagogue, Part of Interfaith Compound, in 2022

September 22, 2019
The United Arab Emirates will build a new synagogue as part of an interfaith compound that will also house a mosque and church and is reportedly set to open in 2022.

      Read the article

 The Higher Committee of Human Fraternity Welcomes a Rabbi Member

September 18, 2019
The Higher Committee of Human Fraternity has announced the inclusion of Rabbi M. Bruce Lustig, Senior Rabbi at Washington Hebrew Congregation, to the membership of the Committee, bringing the total membership to eight members concerned with the achievement of the objectives set forth in the Human Fraternity Document.

     Read the article

 
Former ECC Student Highlighted in The Washington Post

September 3, 2019
Annabel Frost had her first school experience last year at our E-T ECC in D.C. Her parents shared, "She loved every moment of her WHC experience and ... we were so thrilled by her excitement for school." Annabel's brave fight with a rare neurological disorder and her parents' efforts to help find a cure were recently featured in The Washington Post. We've included the link to the article below.

       Read the article

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