District Shabbat Brings Judaism Back to Southwest

by Washington Hebrew Congregation Staff / October 10, 2018

For more than a century, Washington’s Jewish community has thrived in the heart of the city. Since 1995, however, there has not been a Jewish synagogue in Southwest.

That’s about to change.

On Friday, October 19th, Washington Hebrew Congregation (WHC) will debut District Shabbat, a soulful, joyful, and musical Shabbat experience on the third Friday of every month at 555 Water Street SW.

Here’s a quick Q+A about this experience.

Q: What is District Shabbat?

A: It’s much more than a Shabbat service. This is a Shabbat experience led by WHC clergy and folk-rock musicians Dan Nichols and Alan Goodis. It’s a Friday evening that builds community through joyful, musical worship, learning, food, and drinks. If you’ve been to (or heard of) Washington Hebrew Congregation’s Metro Minyan service, you can expect a similar engaging, participatory vibe with District Shabbat, but WHC has incorporated some unique and exciting features. Read on!

Q: Who is it for?

A: Short answer: Everyone. You do not need to be a WHC member to attend!

Q: What happens at this Shabbat “experience”?

A: The night starts at 6:15 pm for a “Shot of Torah,” where drinks and appetizers are the opening to a spirited ­­discussion with WHC’s dynamic rabbis about the week’s Torah portion. That’s followed by a high-energy service at 7:00 pm, led by WHC’s rabbis and musicians Dan Nichols and Alan Goodis.

You can make it a complete night and sign up for one of their optional dinners:

  • Community Shabbat Dinner – An amazing catered dinner for adults held right at St. Augustine’s for $18.
  • The Rabbi’s Table – A prix fixe dinner at a hot nearby restaurant with one of WHC’s rabbis and a small group. It’s $50 and limited to just 20 people.

If you can’t stay for dinner, that’s fine too! There’s no charge for Shot of Torah and the service, but you need to RSVP either way.

WHC Shabbat

Q: Is this just for adults or can I bring my niece and nephew?

A: The Shot of Torah, District Shabbat Service, Community Shabbat DInner, and Rabbi’s Table are just for adults. You are more than welcome to bring your nieces, nephews, and friends with toddlers through kindergartners to “District Shabbat for Tots” at 5:30 pm! This fun and engaging service – also led by the WHC rabbis and musicians – is perfect for little ones. That service is followed by a free family-friendly Shabbat dinner (RSVP required) so both tummies and hearts will be full at the end of your evening.

Q: Where is it?

A: WHC holds District Shabbat (and District Shabbat for Tots) at St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church – 555 Water Street SW, Washington, DC 20024 – right across the street from Arena Stage. Looking for public transportation options?  In addition to Metro’s Green Line Waterfront stop and the M-74 bus, which stops one block from St. Augustine’s, check out the free Wharf shuttle from L’Enfant Plaza and the Circulator’s SW Waterfront Route that runs from Eastern Market to L’Enfant Plaza.

Q: How can I sign up?

A: You can RSVP for the first District Shabbat on October 19th here. We hope to see you there!

metro minyan shabbat


About Washington Hebrew Congregation: Founded in 1852, Washington Hebrew Congregation serves more than 2,500 families throughout the region and is one of the most vibrant Reform congregations in the nation. Led by Senior Rabbi M. Bruce Lustig; Rabbis Susan N. Shankman, Aaron Miller, and Eliana Fischel; and Cantors Mikhail Manevich and Susan Bortnick, WHC has a deep commitment to social justice and provides a wide variety of opportunities for worship, community service, engagement, and education for all ages. Learn more at whctemple.org/DistrictShabbat.

The above is a sponsored blog post. The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.