Established in 1853 by twenty-one young German Jews, Temple Oheb Shalom was originally located on Hanover Street near present day Camden Yards. “Oheb Shalom” means “Lover of Peace.” It was founded as a religious home for the majority of Jews in Baltimore who did not want to attend the Orthodox Baltimore Hebrew Congregation (1830) or the radical Reform Har Sinai (1846). When the Jewish population moved northwest, our congregation relocated to its second home in 1892 and became known as the “Eutaw Place Temple.” Modeled after the Great Synagogue of Florence, Italy, this magnificent building still anchors Baltimore’s Westside. During our centennial year, 1953, we acquired the present site in Pikesville and completed the move to Park Heights Avenue in 1960. Our building was designed by the world renowned founder of the Bauhaus school of architecture, Walter Gropius. Recognized as an example of great synagogue architecture, our facility was completely renovated by Levin-Brown Architects in 2002. The American Institute of Architects gave Oheb Shalom its award for Interior Religious Design in 2004 for the Greenebaum Sanctuary ark.
Temple Oheb Shalom is noteworthy in that only five senior rabbis and six cantors have served the congregation during its entire existence. Its clergy are among the most eminent in American Jewish life. Our first senior rabbi, Rabbi Benjamin Szold (1859-1892), was one of the leaders of 19th century American Jewish community. His daughter, Henrietta Szold, was the founder of Hadassah and one of the most distinguished Jews our country has ever produced. Rabbi William Rosenau (1892-1940), Rabbi Abraham Shaw (1940-1976), Rabbi Donald Berlin (1976-1999), and Rabbi Steven M. Fink (1999-) have each added to the legacy of this historic congregation. Our cantors, Alois Kaiser (1866-1908), Jacob Schuman (1908-1941), Benjamin Grobani (1941-1967), Melvin Luterman (1967-2003), Lisa Levine (2003-2006), and Renata Braun (2007-2018) have added immeasurably to the body of American synagogue music. They have brought beauty and meaning to our worship throughout their more than a century and a half of service.
Temple Oheb Shalom prides itself on its history and tradition while concurrently being among the most innovative congregations in the country.