Temple Oheb Shalom (Baltimore, Maryland)

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Temple Oheb Shalom (Hebrew; Lovers of Peace) is a Reform synagogue in Baltimore, Maryland. The highest point in the city is located in its parking lot.


The congregation was founded in 1853 by Jewish immigrants from German Confederation member states; pioneer Reform rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise had considerable influence in the congregation's establishment.[1] Its first home was on Hanover Street near Camden Yards.[2]

Benjamin Szold was rabbi from 1859 to 1892; his daughter Henrietta Szold was the founder of Hadassah.[2] Szold had a moderating effect on the march of Oheb Shalom toward Reform practice. He encouraged Sabbath observance and replaced Wise's Minhag America with his own traditional Abodat Yisroel siddur.[3] William Rosenau succeeded him (1892-1940).[4][5]

In 1892 the congregation built the Eutaw Place Temple, designed by architect Joseph Evans Sperry who modeled it after the Great Synagogue of Florence in the fashionable Moorish Revival style.[2] The congregation sold the building to the Prince Hall Masons in 1961.[6]

In 1953 the congregation acquired land in Pikesville, and finished construction on its present building on Park Heights Avenue, designed by Sheldon I. Leavitt with consulting architect Walter Gropius in 1960.[2][7] The design is dominated by four large vaults and Gropius saw the design as a modern combination of "the turbine with the Torah."[8] Gropius' design also had an atypical design, with the sanctuary floor ascending toward the bimah on the eastern wall; this design was later reversed so that the floor descends toward the bimah on the western wall.[9]


  1. ^ Kerry M. Olitzky, The American Synagogue: A Historical Dictionary and Sourcebook (Greenwood Publishing Group, 1996), ISBN 978-0313288562, pp. 165–167. Excerpts available at Google Books.
  2. ^ a b c d "History" Archived 2011-10-06 at the Wayback Machine. Temple Oheb Shalom.
  3. ^ "SZOLD, BENJAMIN - JewishEncyclopedia.com". jewishencyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2017-10-30. 
  4. ^ "Mendels-Hechinger Wedding". The Baltimore Sun. 1897-10-22. p. 7. Retrieved 2017-10-30. 
  5. ^ Bolan, Erin. "Our History". www.templeohebshalom.org. Retrieved 2017-10-30. 
  6. ^ Earl Arnett; Robert J. Brugger; Edward C. Papenfuse (1999). Maryland: A New Guide to the Old Line State (2nd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 338. ISBN 978-0801859809. 
  7. ^ Dorsey, John; Dilts, James D. (1981). A Guide to Baltimore Architecture (Second ed.). Tidewater Publishers. ISBN 0-87033-272-4. 
  8. ^ Frank R. Shivers, Jr.; Mary Ellen Hayward, eds. (2004). The Architecture of Baltimore: An Illustrated History. Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 296. ISBN 978-0801878060. 
  9. ^ Susan G. Solomon, Louis I. Kahn's Jewish Architecture: Mikveh Israel and the Midcentury American Synagogue (UPNE, 2009), ISBN 978-1584657880, p. 144. Excerpts available at Google Books.

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Coordinates: 39°22′11″N 76°42′34″W / 39.36969°N 76.70955°W / 39.36969; -76.70955