The history of the sixth largest Jewish community in the country began more than 200 years ago, when the first Jews moved to Washington, D.C.
As the Jewish community grew, dozens of charitable social service agencies emerged to support the area’s growing needs.
But the social service landscape has changed dramatically over the years:
1925: Washington’s disparate charitable agencies merged into the Jewish Welfare Association, to direct community resources more effectively.
1939: The United Palestine Appeal and the fundraising arm of the Joint Distribution Committee merged into the national United Jewish Appeal. The Jewish Welfare Association became UJA’s Washington headquarters, focusing primarily on the needs of Jews in Europe and what was then Palestine. Only a small portion of money raised supported local needs.
1976: UJA Washington became UJA Federation of Greater Washington, the formal coordinator of a community-wide campaign for local beneficiary agencies as well as for Israel and overseas.
1999: UJA Federation became The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington to reflect the broad range of global and local fundraising commitments we have established.
Today: Our community encompasses the 270,000 people living in Jewish households in Northern Virginia, suburban Maryland and the District of Columbia.
Through the many changes in our region and the world, we have remained focused on strengthening Jewish identity and caring for those in need.