Hebrew Home of Greater Washington/JSSA

As Eastern European immigrants joined Washington’s Jewish community in the 1880s, community members banded together to provide housing, education, and support.

Washington’s largest local charitable groups, United Hebrew Charities and the Hebrew Relief Society, merged in 1921 and later took the name Jewish Social Service Agency (JSSA).

In search of a building to serve as the Hebrew Home for the Aged, agency founders persuaded the Young Men’s Hebrew Association to sell them its clubhouse at 415 M Street, NW. In 1914, the first ten residents moved in.

Ten years later, the Hebrew Home moved to a larger building on Spring Road, NW, with room for 35 residents. In 1940, JSSA, which first operated in the basement of the city’s Community Chest organization, relocated to a new office building adjacent to the Hebrew Home.

Challenged by the increasing needs of the growing suburban Jewish community, community leaders planned a new suburban campus for the major Jewish communal organizations. In 1969, the renamed Hebrew Home of Greater Washington and JSSA, along with the Jewish Community Center, moved to the new complex on Montrose Road in Rockville. Adjacent to The Jewish Federation of Washington, these agencies together form the core of Jewish philanthropic and social services in the metropolitan area.

Links

415 M Street, N.W.

Click to view larger

1. 415 M Street, NW

This brick row house, built in the 1860s and purchased in 1914 from the Young Men’s Hebrew Association, housed the first Hebrew Home. Later occupants of the building included Shomrei Shabbos congregation, Church of Jesus Christ, and Metropolitan Community Church. It is now a private residence.

Hebrew Home of Greater Washington Collections
Show on map
1125 Spring Road, N.W., 1998

Click to view larger

2. 1125 Spring Road, NW, 1998

The Hebrew Home occupied this building from 1925 to 1969. Designed by local architect Harry A. Brandt, the structure was described as “pure American style.” In 1953, a new wing increased capacity fivefold. Its exterior combined maroon brick with buff limestone trim, including Stars of David that remain today. Sold to the District of Columbia, it is now a center for medical services for the homeless.

Photograph by Jeremy Goldberg
Show on map
Residents of Hebrew Home

Click to view larger

3. Residents of Hebrew Home celebrate Rosh Hashana, 1962

©Washington Post; Reprinted by permission of the D.C. Public Library
JSSA, 1131 Spring Road, N.W.

Click to view larger

4. JSSA, 1131 Spring Road, NW

When JSSA moved to Spring Road, the Hebrew Home leased the site to the agency for an annual rent of one dollar. Mrs. Henry Morgenthau, wife of the Secretary of the Treasury, presided at the ribbon-cutting ceremony on December 29, 1940.

JHSGW Collections
Show on map
JSSA headquarters, 6123 Montrose Road

Click to view larger

5. Hebrew Home for the Aged, 6121 Montrose Road

Real estate developer Charles E. Smith spearheaded the Rockville campus building project in 1969.

©Washington Post; Reprinted by permission of the D.C. Public Library
Show on map