A Capital Community
Washington Hebrew Congregation
The Rev. S. Weil recite[d] the prayer for the Government in both Hebrew and English…The Congregation is prospering greatly, numbering about ninety members.
The Jewish Messenger, December 11, 1863
Washington Hebrew Congregation cared for Jewish soldiers and buried Jews whose bodies went unclaimed. A corps of congregation women raised money to benefit the U.S. Sanitary Commission’s wartime relief work.
Initially rooted in Orthodox practice, the congregation’s changes in ritual had begun by 1861. Reforms included eliminating the second day of holidays, using a cornet for a shofar, and adopting Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise’s prayer book, Minhag America.