Nowadays, more and more people are coming to the conclusion that religion is outdated and has little, if any, place in modern society. It’s being taught less and less in schools, busy family life makes it difficult to attend weekly services, and every day, there are new arguments against religion in general. But instead of fading into the background, religious institutions, including some amazing synagogues in the Washington DC area, are finding new ways to not only stay relevant but continue to be an integral part of their community. In today’s technology driven society, these establishments are getting their online groove on to stay current and grab the attention of the younger generations.
Here are the top five most active synagogues around Washington DC making sure that everyone gets involved.
5. Temple Micah
Temple Micah prides itself on being a ‘teaching, caring and doing’ congregation and maintains an active role in the local community. Although the temple doesn’t take an active role in social media, it does maintain a well-designed and easy to use website which covers the usual topics regarding the synagogue as well as topics ranging from Israel to online games. More importantly, the focus remains on social action and Temple Micah’s Roll-Up-Your-Sleeves-and-Get-To-Work attitude makes up for the lack of Twitter and Facebook presence.
4. Adas Israel
Adas Israel is a well-known synagogue in Washington DC, as it is the largest conservative synagogue in the area. The roots and leanings may be conservative, but the synagogue also maintains a healthy and active interest in its members and the community at large. Social media savvy, Adas Israel keeps active on Facebook, Twitter and Blogger in order to keep in touch with members and reach out to the community. The members also host groups for young professionals and special series events like their Hanukkah Festival which features concerts, parties and guest speakers.
3. Temple Sinai
Temple Sinai offers members and the public plenty of ways to get in touch and stay involved with programs. The congregation is Reform Jewish and the temple members have adopted the Biblical command ‘Justice, justice shall you pursue’ as their unofficial motto. The temple is active on Facebook and also offers live streaming services for those who can’t make it in, as well as archived sermons and services from High Holy Days. Now there’s no excuse for not getting to services, since it’s as simple as logging on to the Temple Sinai website.
2. Ohev Sholom
Ohev Sholom gains much of its clout from being the National Synagogue. Its Orthodox congregation embraces newcomers both as new congregation members and religious converts. It is active online through social media sites like Facebook, and offers its own streamlined website. The synagogue also carries its active social presence over to many physical outreach and social programs. Ohev Sholom hosts regular Shabbat Hannukah Dinners for new members, and for those who enjoy their worship activities to be a bit more casual, it also hosts annual Thanksgiving football parties. Ohev Sholom makes a successful play at bringing Orthodox traditions and perspectives into the 21st century for a modern day congregation.
1. Sixth & I
Sixth & I takes an incredibly active role in social networking, community outreach and member activities. Its activities schedule runs rampant with social get-togethers from Food for Thought, which discusses traditional teachings in context for modern life, to an evening with futurist and best-selling author, Ray Kurzweil, and everything in between, including concerts and comedy shows. The website is by far the most youth focused and offers live streaming of events, as well as an easy way to stay connected on Facebook and Twitter, with fun and fresh updates. Sixth & I reaches out to members and the general public by offering free tours and public events aimed at creating and maintaining an open dialogue about religion and culture both on- and offline. Don’t be a fool, stay in Shul!