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Southeast Hebrew Congregation

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.

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Southeast Hebrew Congregation, 417 9th Street, SE

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1. Southeast Hebrew Congregation, 417 Ninth Street, SE

Philanthropist Paul Himmelfarb provided a building for Southeast Hebrew in 1922. The new synagogue, seen here, designed by architect Victor Eberhard in 1949, was sold to the Tried Stone Church of Christ. The Ten Commandments remain over the entrance.

Photograph by Jeremy Goldberg
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The “White House” in White Oak, 1975

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2. The “White House” in White Oak, 1975

Southeast Hebrew met in this home, which they called the “White House,” from 1971 until 1976. Changes to the building to accommodate growing numbers included the relocation of a central staircase and the removal of a wall between the living and dining rooms.

Southeast Hebrew Congregation Collections
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Southeast Hebrew Congregation, Silver Spring, Maryland

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3. Southeast Hebrew Congregation, Silver Spring, Maryland

Southeast Hebrew’s building at 10900 Lockwood Drive in Silver Spring, where the congregation has been located since 1976, is down the road from Shaare Tefila. The two form the center of White Oak’s Jewish community.

Southeast Hebrew Congregation Collections
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Southeast Hebrew Congregation, 417 9th Street, S.E.

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4. Main Sanctuary

Southeast Hebrew Congregation Collections