Temple Sinai, Washington’s first Reform congregation in nearly a century, was founded in 1951.
Temple Sinai’s founding members hoped to create a less formal Reform service and attract unaffiliated families.
The group met for several years in locations in Northwest Washington, including the Bethlehem Chapel of Washington National Cathedral, before purchasing more than three acres of forested land overlooking Military Road, NW. The congregation completed a synagogue there in 1957.
Designed to evoke a tent in the desert and an end to wandering, the contemporary building features intimate, light-filled interior spaces. The architecture, which complements the congregation’s evolving Reform practices, was a conscious departure from the more monumental buildings of many larger synagogues built in the 1950s.
Renovations in 1993 added meeting and prayer space while respecting the building’s architectural integrity. Located within easy reach of Jewish households in the city and close-in suburban neighborhoods, Temple Sinai has grown to 1,150 families.