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Temple Ohabei Shalom (Brookline, Mass.) Records

Identifier: I-459

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains fliers, pamphlets and brochures concerning programs and events of the Congregation Brotherhood, an anniversary program of the Congregation Sisterhood, and the following publications: Brotherhood Bulletin, Stars and Stripes, Temple Bulletin and Temple Tidings.


  • undated, 1909-1991


Language of Materials

The collection is in English.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for researcher use. Please contact us to request access or to make an appointment to view this collection at

Use Restrictions

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Historical Note

Temple Ohabei Shalom, the oldest synagogue in Massachusetts, was founded on February 26, 1843 by the families of Isaac Wolf, Peter Spitz, William Goldsmith, Bernard Fox, Charles Heineman, Jacob Norton, Abraham F. Block, Moses Ehrlich, Bernard Wurmsur, and Julius Spitz. Ohabei Shalom ("Lovers of Peace") initially held their services in the Spitz home on Fort Hill, but soon elected their first officials of the congregation-Moses Ehrlich, President; William Goldsmith, Vice President; and Abraham Saling, Rabbi-and moved their services to Rabbi Saling's home, where they were conducted until 1845. In 1844, the synagogue petitioned the City of Boston for 100 square feet of land in the East Boston City Cemetery, but the petition was rejected. Later that year, the synagogue purchased 10,000 square feet of land for a cemetery at the corner of Byron and Homer Streets in East Boston; the City approved this purchase on October 5, 1844. On March 22, 1845, the State of Massachusetts granted the congregation a charter of incorporation.

From 1846-1852, congregants met in a private home on Albany Street. On March 26, 1852, the synagogue dedicated its building on Warren Street (now Warrenton Street) in Boston. Instruction in both German and Hebrew was taught in the school adjacent to the Synagogue, and the Jewish community utilized the synagogue's common space for a number of events. However, there were factions within the congregation that eventually created a division between the Polish and German Jewish congregants. Polish Jews were unhappy with the Bavarian rituals and the German cantor Joseph Sachs. The German Jews took Sachs with them when they broke away from the congregation, as well as the Ohabei Shalom name and rights to the cemetery, building, and bequest monies of Judah Touro. The disagreement was brought to the civil court, which ruled in favor of the Polish Jews, and the temple formally separated into two congregations. Ohabei Shalom, the Polish synagogue, maintained the cemetery in East Boston, the bequest money, and the name. In 1855, the German Jews moved to a building on Pleasant Street, purchased cemetery land in Wakefield, Massachusetts, and named their synagogue "Adath Israel"-now Temple Israel in Boston. In 1858, Jews from East Prussia broke away and formed yet another congregation-Die Israelitische Gemeinde Mishkan Israel (now Mishkan Tefila in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.) The discord between Adath Israel and Ohabei Shalom did not last however, and in 1864 men from both congregations established the United Hebrew Benevolent Association (a forerunner of the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston.)

In 1863, the synagogue moved across the street from its original building, followed by a move in 1887 to Union Park Street in the South End. In 1921, the synagogue purchased land in Brookline, Massachusetts, where the synagogue still stands. In the 1870s, the congregation began to adopt changes to their rituals in order to maintain relevancy in the changing Boston Jewish community. In 1870, the congregation held its first confirmation for boys and girls. This was followed by the establishment of a mixed choir in 1871. In 1875, family pews were installed and women were no longer required to sit in the gallery.


  1. "Our Building." Temple Ohabei Shalom. August 9, 2010 (
  2. Sarna, Jonathan D. and Ellen Smith. The Jews of Boston. Boston: Combined Jewish Philanthropies, 1995
  3. Materials from the collection.


Temple Ohabei Shalom is founded.
Ohabei Shalom petitions Boston for space in East Boston Cemetery; petition is denied.
Ohabei Shalom purchases 10,000 square feet in East Boston for cemetery.
October 4, 1844
City of Boston approves the purchase of land in East Boston.
March 22, 1845
Ohabei Shalom granted a charter of incorporation.
Congregants meet at private home on Albany Street.
March 26, 1852
Warren Street building dedicated.
Adath Israel (Temple Israel) forms with dissenting German Jewish congregants.
East Prussian Jews split from congregation, form Mishkan Israel (now Mishkin Tefila.)
Synagogue moves across the street from original building on Warren.
First confirmations for boys and girls held.
Mixed choir established.
Family pews installed; women no longer required to sit in the gallery.
Synagogue moves to Union Park Street in the South End.
Synagogue purchases land in Brookline.


1.5 linear feet (3 manuscript boxes)


Temple Ohabei Shalom was founded on February 26, 1843 by several Boston Jewish families, and is the first synagogue established in Massachusetts. After meeting in the homes of both a founding congregant and the first elected Rabbi, Abraham Saling, Ohabei Shalom dedicated its first building on Warren (now Warrenton) Street in Boston in 1852. In 1855, the German Jewish congregants left Ohabei Shalom and founded Congregation Adath Israel (now Temple Israel in Boston.) The Polish Jewish congregants maintained the name Ohabei Shalom and the cemetery land in East Boston. In 1858, East Prussian Jews also left the congregation, forming Die Israelitische Gemeinde Mishkan Israel (now Miskhan Tefila in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.) This collection contains flyers, programs and tickets for events as well as copies of bulletins and newsletters, such as Brotherhood Bulletin, Stars and Stripes, Temple Bulletin and Temple Tidings.

Physical Location

Located in Boston, Mass.

Acquisition Information

Acquisition information is unknown.

Processing Information

Reprocessed by Stephanie Call, 2010

Guide to the Temple Ohabei Shalom (Brookline, Mass.) Records, I-459
Reprocessed by Stephanie Call
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center at American Ancestors Repository

99-101 Newbury Street
Boston MA 02116 United States