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Who We Are

We are the combination of two historic Reform synagogues working together to create one joyful, warm, inclusive, and socially conscious congregation. Because we are striving to live our Jewish values through the lens of a dynamic modern world, we are constantly growing and evolving in pursuit of that goal. 

History & Merger

Two legacy Reform Jewish congregations Har Sinai and Oheb Shalom Congregation share over 178 years of history in the Baltimore area. Both congregations have served thousands of families representing multiple generations. Their histories are diverse and following are brief but important highlights of their legacies.

Har Sinai was founded in 1842 and is the oldest continuously Reform Jewish Congregation in the United States. Although their practices were almost Orthodox when they first started, it was not until they had their own building on High Street in 1849 that they became a congregation in the community of Israel. At this time they also felt a connection to the modern Reform movement. Their practice of Reform Judaism continued with their first Rabbi, Rabbi David Einhorn as Rabbi Einhorn remained consistent with his doctrine of a Reform Congregation of Har Sinai Congregation.

Three hundred years later, Har Sinai continues its Reform traditions, but always remembering its’ rich heritage.

Oheb Shalom Congregation was founded in 1853 by twenty-one young German Jews. Meaning Lover of Peace, Oheb Shalom was founded as a religious home for those who did not want to attend the then Orthodox Baltimore Hebrew Congregation(1830) or the “radical” Reform Har Sinai(1849).

It is noteworthy to recognize Oheb Shalom has only had five senior Rabbis and six Cantors throughout its’ lengthy history. One Rabbi of note was Rabbi Benjamin Szold  who was one of the leaders of the19th century American Jewish community. His daughter Henrietta Szold was the founder of Hadassah and one of the most distinguished females Jews in America.

Where are these two congregations today? Har Sinai and Oheb Shalom Congregation have merged as of September 18, 2019. Har Sinai physically and spiritually moved into Oheb Shalom’s building. They brought with them magnificent artifacts, Jewish rituals, many torahs and  a community of members who are devoted to Reform Judaism.

Currently, the name Har Sinai - Oheb Shalom (HSOSC) is proudly displayed on the building as well as on all forms of communications. However, that is temporary as in the coming months there will be a new name.

This short video highlights Har Sinai - Oheb Shalom Congregation's coming together on November 24, 2019.

Sat, January 16 2021 3 Sh'vat 5781