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About Congregation Ohev Shalom

Congregation Ohev Shalom, Greater Orlando’s original synagogue, serves the spiritual needs of our community as the go-to Jewish institution. We are a traditional, innovative, and fully egalitarian congregation, engaging people of diverse backgrounds in an inclusive community of lifelong learning.
 
We have a Jewish home for you: spiritual, social, and joyfully engaged with the wider community. Our fully egalitarian, vibrant Conservative congregation offers inspirational worship and innovative programs that connect us to the beauty and power of the Jewish experience, enabling our members to cultivate a relationship to Judaism that is meaningful and relevant to their lives.
We have a Jewish home-away-from-home for your children. Ohev Shalom’s national-award-winning Religious School and Youth programs deeply engage children and teens and help them to develop lasting Jewish identities. An array of experiences for children from infants through high school seniors teach them about and connect them to their Jewish heritage—and to each other.
We have a diverse and active membership, enabling us to build a strong community that is welcoming, inclusive, and participatory.
At over 100 years old, we’re proud to be Orlando’s oldest synagogue. Diversity is our strength! We warmly welcome the membership and participation of interfaith couples and families, as well as people of every ability, background, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, and socioeconomic status. Together, we strive to strengthen the ancient bonds of the Jewish people and to promote and protect Jewish continuity. 
We aspire to be a resource for Jewish life in Central Florida. We endeavor to create opportunities to engage in Jewish spirituality, learning, culture, and community. We strive to be a safe and welcoming home for the already rich and constantly growing diversity within the Jewish community. We work to be financially, educationally, spiritually, physically, and ideologically accessible to the broadest possible range of individuals and families. We seek to embody the values and principles of Judaism and the Conservative Movement, including preserving our sacred traditions while embracing an ever-changing world. We commit to the preservation of the State of Israel’s independence and security and to support Israel’s efforts to live in peace with its neighbors. We pursue and encourage constructive dialogue and interaction with the community at large.

Our Building & Accessibility

Our synagogue building, built in 2011, is fully ADA compliant and accessible to all. Please do not hesitate to contact the office and let us know if you or a family member needs accommodations in order to fully participate in synagogue life. 
 
Congregation Ohev Shalom has installed a Hearing Loop in the sanctuary, chapel, and ballrooms.  This is to assist those with hearing loss hear more clearly during services.  A Hearing Loop is an assistive listening system that transmits sound directly into one’s hearing aids or cochlear implants rather than depending on sound coming from the loudspeakers.  To receive the Loop signal and hear more clearly, you will need to manually activate your T-coil or “telephone” setting on your hearing aid or cochlear implant.  If you don’t know if you have a T-coil or whether yours is properly programmed, consult with your audiologist or hearing aid professional.  If you don’t wear hearing aids, ask to use a Loop receiver to receive the sound. 
 

Our History: 100 Years of Ohev Shalom

OHEV SHALOM'S HUMBLE BEGINNINGS
 
Founded in 1918, Ohev Shalom was Orlando’s first synagogue.
We have a long and proud history of serving the Jewish community, and members of our congregation continue to hold leadership positions in many Central Florida institutions and organizations.
Our first synagogue building was located in a former church on the corner of Central and Terry Streets, pictured left. The guiding principles mentioned in the original synagogue constitution were “cooperation, religion, friendship and charity.” Article III of that constitution stated that “any Hebrew man or woman could be a member if they would promise cooperation and pay the dues of $1.00 per month.”
OHEV SHALOM QUICKLY GREW TO BE CENTRAL FLORIDA'S MOST WELCOMING JEWISH COMMUNITY
 
Just seven years after its founding, the congregation built a new synagogue at the corner of Eola Drive and Church Street in downtown Orlando, pictured on the right.
For decades, it was the epicenter of Jewish life in Orlando. Since Ohev Shalom was the only synagogue in town, we attempted to accommodate everyone and held three types of services in our building—Orthodox, Reform, and Conservative. Eventually, other synagogues formed in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
 

BECOMING A LEADER OF CONSERVATIVE JUDAISM
 
Ohev Shalom continued to thrive through the years and in 1972, the congregation broke ground on Goddard Avenue for a new building, which was dedicated on March 31, 1974.
There, as the congregation grew, our clergy and lay leaders established a climate of embracing change while honoring tradition, and Ohev Shalom made strides as a regional leader in Conservative Judaism.
A mikvah was added to the building in 1996—the only Conservative mikvah in Central Florida.

Ohev at 100 and Beyond

EMBRACING PAST AND FUTURE
 
With continued dynamic Rabbinic leadership, an outstanding Cantor, and education and youth programs that excel, Ohev Shalom is moving into the next era of its historic existence.
 
Having completed our beautiful new building on Maitland Boulevard in 2011 to accommodate the needs of our growing congregation, we continue serving our members and the Greater Orlando Jewish community as a center for spiritual, educational, and social life—as we meet the joys and challenges of our second century.
Tue, July 16 2024 10 Tammuz 5784