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Our History

In 1886, Ohev Sholom Congregation was founded by a group of devout Russian
immigrant Jews who had fled Czarist Russia. The first services were held on the second
floor over Myer Fisher's clothing store on the 1100 block of Seventh Street, NW,
Washington, DC. As Ohev Sholom grew, it moved first to Louisiana Avenue and then in
1906 to 500 I Street, NW, Washington, DC, where it remained for the next fifty years.

The nucleus of Talmud Torah was a group of twenty-eight families in Southwest
Washington who conducted a daily minyan. The first group met in Isaac Levy's clothing
store, called Levy's Busy Corner, on 4th Street, in the Southwest section of the district.
After meeting temporarily in Samuel Kessler's home, the Congregation moved to a
permanent site at 467 E Street, SW. Talmud Torah remained in that location for almost 50
years, until the Federal redevelopment program forced the Congregation to leave in the
early 1950's.

On July 7, 1958, Ohev Sholom and Talmud Torah merged, creating a congregation of
more than six hundred families. The newly built synagogue building on upper Sixteenth
Street, NW, Washington, DC, was dedicated on November 27, 1960. In 1986, the
combined Ohev Sholom - Talmud Torah Congregation celebrated its one hundredth
anniversary. Throughout this period, the Congregation continued to serve the Jewish
community with daily minyanim, daf yomi classes, and other synagogue activities.

In the late 1980's and 90's, Ohev Sholom – Talmud Torah struggled as many Jews left
Washington, DC to move to other communities.  In 2004, under the leadership of Rabbi
Shmuel Herzfeld and a small but strong lay community, the direction of the shul turned
around. That same year, the shul celebrated its first bris in almost 30 years. Ohev grew
tremendously, and in 2013 hired Maharat Ruth Friedman, making history as the first
synagogue in the United States to hire a Maharat, an Orthodox female spiritual leader.
The Mikvah Chaim Community Mikvah opened in 2014.

In 2023, Ohev Sholom welcomed Rabbi David Wolkenfeld and Rabbanit Sara Wolkenfeld
and their family as we entered the next chapter of our shul’s journey.


Mon, July 22 2024 16 Tammuz 5784