History of Temple Micah
The congregation was founded in 1963 as the Southwest Hebrew Congregation. The name was changed to Temple Micah in 1968 at the height of the Vietnam War to reflect Micah's vision in which "nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more".
We affiliated with the Reform movement in 1965 and joined the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, recently renamed the Union of Reform Judaism (URJ). Daniel G. Zemel become our third full-time rabbi in 1983, succeeding rabbis Bernard H. Mehlman and Robert K. Baruch. For a more detailed history, see the wonderful book by Brenda Levenson, Derech Micah.
Our arks were originally constructed when the Temple shared a building in Southwest Washington. Ted Cron has chronicled their history. Louise Zemel has reported on a recent repair to our 300-year-old Torah.
Our First Location
The congregation initially occupied temporary spaces around the waterfront area. In 1966 we began a space-sharing arrangement with St. Augustine's Episcopal Church at 600 M St. SW (across from Arena Stage). This 28-year marriage was one of the nation's longest-running experiments in Jewish/Christian ecumenism. The decision to seek new space was reluctantly taken in the face of the facility's inability to meet the needs resulting from Temple Micah's disproportionate growth in membership and religious school enrollment compared to St. A's.
The following have served as presidents of Temple Micah [*=deceased]:
- Theodor Schuchat (1963-1968) [when it was Southwest Hebrew Congregation]
- Stanley Siegel (1968)
- Sheldon Tromberg* (1968-1970)
- Sidney Booth (1970-1972)
- Bayla White (1972-1974)
- Mel Goldberg (1974-1976)
- Aaron Altschul* (1976-1978)
- Celia (Futrovsky) Shapiro (1978-1979)
- Gerry Liebenau (1979-1981)
- Nancy Elisburg (1981-1983)
- Vivian Liebenau*(1983-1985)
- Richard Futrovsky (1985-1987)
- Jay Grusin (1987-1989)
- Kate Grausz* (1989-1991)
- Jessica Silver (1991-1994)
- Bobbie Wendel (1994-1996)
- Cecelia Weinheimer (1996-1998)
- Peggy Banks (1998-2000)
- Paul Greenberg (2000-2003)
- Jonah Gitlitz (2003-2005)
- Betsy Broder (2005-2007)
- Bill Nusbaum (2007-2009)
- Larry Cooley (2009-2011)
- Mary Beth Schiffman (2011 to the present)