Henry Goldman, 56, a businessman in the Washington area who was active in Zionist affairs in this area and elsewhere in the country, died of cancer Thursday at his home in Chevy Chase.

He founded Educational Aids, a school supply manufacturing company, 25 years ago and was chairman of the board at the time of his death. The firm was located first in Washington, later in Rockville and was moved to Columbia about eight years ago.

Mr. Goldman was born in Poland and came to this country in 1939. He served with the Army in World War II and moved here after the war.

He was former president of the Liuis D. Brandeis Zionist District here of the Zionist Organization of America. He was a ZOA vice president chairman of the American Zionist Fund of ZOA and a member of the national ZOA executive comittee and its administrative board. He had received ZOA's Justice Louis D. Brandeis Award.

Mr. Goldman also was a member of the United Jewish Appeal Federation's board of directors, vice president of the Jewish National Fund, a charter member of the Prime Minister's Club for Israel Bonds, president of the Progress Club and a member of Shaare Tefila Congregation.

He is survived by his wife, the former Rosalie Lipsky, and two daughters, Elaine and Susan, all of Chevy Chase; a son, Philip of Greenbelt; his parents, Sam and Bella Goldman of North Miami Beach, Fla., and a sister, Yetta Goldman of Potomac.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Jewish National Fund or the Louis D. Brandeis District of ZOA.