Welcome to The New Synagogue Project! We are a multiracial Jewish community committed to dismantling racism and white supremacy. We are committed to providing a spiritual and communal home for those who may not always easily be able to find one elsewhere.
The Shema ingrains in our hearts and minds that we are woven into a larger Fabric of Being that encompasses all creation, teaching us to listen to and love ourselves, our neighbors, and all of creation, obligating us to be responsible to care for and support one another and the earth.
Every human being is an entire world, an olam malei, unto themselves, with inherent dignity and worth. As part of one creation, we each contain multitudes within: when the Divine formed us, we were not stamped out of the same mold like a human might stamp out identical coins—we were formed B’Tzelem Elohim, in the image of the Divine, so each one of us is unique.
We strive to show up in our community as our whole and full selves, and in a way that allows others to do the same. We strive to meet the physical, sensory, and other accessibility needs of our community members and guests. We have a shared commitment to ending structural racism, working for equity, and becoming an antiracist congregation.
We are on the journey of Yetziat Mitzrayim, leaving the narrow places of our world and our lives. The Exodus teaches us that transformation is possible, and that we can and must reject oppression and confront injustice, live with truth, and work for decolonization and the liberation of all people, equitable redistribution of resources and wealth, and the healing of our planet.
Many of us and our ancestors have felt the violence of displacement and colonization. We gather on stolen land, the traditional lands of the Piscataway and Nacotchtank tribes, who lived on and continue to live on and steward this land. We stand in solidarity with Palestinians and their demands for dignity, equality, and freedom. We do not mix our Jewish practice with any form of political nationalism.
We leave the narrow places as an Erev Rav, a mixed multitude community. Our community is – and always has been! – made up of Jews by choice, by those who were born into Judaism, those with mixed heritage, non-Jewish family, and those with Jewish ancestors, recovering and returning to what was lost. It means that we are – and have always been – Jewish and not Jewish, of other faiths or no faith.
We are people of varied ages, abilities, sizes, and genders. We are Jews of color and white Jews. We are atheists and mystics, agnostics and seekers. We are ashkenazi, sephardi, and mizrahi. There is no such thing as a good Jew or a bad Jew. We do not value purity or judge impurity, and there is no assumed shared Jewish experience. What a blessing!
We stand again and again at Mount Sinai, receiving a living Torah; an eitz chayim, a tree of life. Our living tree of Torah connects us to tradition and to our ancestors, rooting us in the past as we grow and change towards the future. We expand and engage with talmudic, midrashic, and halachic processes to provide us with resilience in the face of suffering, despair, and uncertainty. The fruits of Torah are righteous deeds which sustain and nourish us, pointing the way toward interconnection and a shared future. We strive for this Torah and Judaism to be life-giving, open, and accessible for all who seek its ways.
Living with simchah, joy, is a spiritual practice. We strive to be a community of joy, celebrating life cycle events, Shabbat and holidays, and the everyday triumphs of life. We find joy in prayer and song, learning and art, and in the rhythms of Shabbat and Jewish time. We hold space for a diversity of ritual and practices, knowing that there are as many ways to be Jewish and practice Judaism as there are Jews.
We join together in a brit, a covenant, a spiritual and political act of entering into sacred relationship and obligation with one another and the Source of Life. We are called to acts of chesed, loving-kindness; to show up for one another in times of sorrow and sickness as well as joy and celebration, take care of each other, and to ask for and receive help to get one another through difficult times.
Our brit also obligates us to dismantle white supremacy, both in the world around us, in our texts and tradition, and within ourselves. As a synagogue in a historically Black neighborhood in DC, we strive to act in solidarity with our neighbors and stay mindful of our impact on the community. Our brit calls us to build a spiritual and political home that creates pathways to act on our values and space for growth and transformation as we deepen our understanding of the world and society we live in.
We practice ahavat yisrael, loving our fellow Jews. We care for and about them, seeking their safety and wholeness anywhere and everywhere they dwell, opposing antisemitism and seeking Jewish liberation, knowing that our liberation is bound up with the liberation of our neighbors, all humanity, and the earth. When our fellow Jews fall short, we seek to draw them close with love and connection to a path of righteousness, kol yisrael aravim ze ba ze, all of Yisrael is responsible for one another.
Ner Hashem Nishmat Adam, inside of each of us is a sacred spark. We are all capable of spiritual leadership, everyone holy. The members of our community build and lead our community together. We bring our varied gifts and contributions by volunteering, serving in positions of leadership, engaging in emotional labor, spiritual leadership, and financial support.
We welcome you to pray, learn, build, act, and work with us. As our name suggests, we are constantly evolving – a work in progress that we may never complete, but we will also never desist from the work. Please join us in creating this vision.