Southeast Hebrew Congregation was founded in 1909 on Capitol Hill by Orthodox Eastern European immigrants.
Like Ezras Israel in Northeast and Kesher Israel in Georgetown, Southeast Hebrew served the needs of tradesmen and shopkeepers with stores and homes in the neighborhood. The congregation held minyans in private homes and rented a loft near the Navy Yard for Sabbath and holiday services.
In 1922, a charitable gift made possible the purchase of a building at 417 9th Street, SE. Members remember walking past the Capitol after Sabbath services.
Many Jews began leaving Southeast in the 1930s. Others, tied to their homes and businesses in the area, remained. After World War II, the congregation built a 450-seat synagogue on the 9th Street, SE, site.
The congregation met in this building, the last remaining synagogue on Capitol Hill, for more than twenty-five years. In 1971, Southeast Hebrew Congregation moved to White Oak in Silver Spring, Maryland where today revitalization augurs well for the future of the congregation.