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Community Issues - Social Action

We open dialogue and strengthen relations with our interfaith neighbors, connect our Congregation to social justice issues in our own communities, and work toward a more just society.

Members of the committee are the Temple’s liaisons with community religious and social service organizations. We plan and run several major annual congregational events, including Martin Luther King Jr. Shabbat and Day of Service and the Interfaith Freedom Seder, both of which bring our interfaith neighbors from across the metropolitan area to WHC to celebrate our common experience and further tolerance and understanding.

We present lectures on social action issues and organize the Congregation’s participation in rallies and demonstrations — including the 9/11 Unity Walk, Rally Against Genocide in Darfur, vigils at the Sudanese Embassy, and political forums. To aid the vulnerable within our own community, we support efforts, such as the Second Sunday cooking project, through which Temple members provide meals for the homeless in Montgomery County.

Whether you are looking for stimulating discussion or direct involvement in projects and activities, we hope you will join us.

A Shabbat of Peace

Choose Knowledge and Love over Hate

On Friday, August 10, 2018, Washington Hebrew Congregation was honored to host two events that encouraged D.C. residents to choose knowledge and love over hate.

Teach-In on White Supremacy: A Regional Townhall With Two Powerful Members of Congress

Teach-In on White Supremacy, Racism, Anti-Semitism, and the Neo-Nazi Movement: A Joint Congressional Townhall Meeting. 

Organized by D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton and Maryland Congressman Jamie Raskin, this informative session featured leading experts in the field including special guests from the Southern Poverty Law Center, the ACLU, and the Anti-Defamation League. This event also included a special presentation by Reverand William Barber.

A Shabbat of Peace and Candlelight Vigil: Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself

Our congregation and members of the greater community were invited to a special Interfaith Shabbat service immediately following the teach-in.

During this service, we embraced the unity of the human family and asked for prayers for peace. The service concluded with a special candlelight vigil to honor and remember the lives lost in Charlottesville during the rallies and protests one year ago.

This interfaith service was conducted in cooperation with the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish Community Relations Council, and InterFaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington.

Photo Gallery  
Photo Gallery

Supporting Refugees and Providing Sanctuary

“Sanctuary” can include legal assistance, material or financial support, advocacy, education, or temporary physical shelter. Different than sponsoring refugees and asylum seekers in cooperation with the U.S. government and relief agencies, “Sanctuary” — in this context — refers to providing support for undocumented individuals (including “DREAMers”). The legal issues surrounding “Sanctuary” are both unclear and evolving.

On Wednesday, May 10, 2017, we explored the critical questions that need to be asked and answered concerning Sanctuary, including, “where does civil disobedience end and obstruction of justice begin?” and “what concerns do individuals and religious institutions need to consider if they wish to provide Sanctuary and how do they differ?”