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Friday, December 22, 2023

Temple Ohabei Shalom: A Beacon of Reform Judaism in Brookline

  Rajesh Kumar Rana       Friday, December 22, 2023

Temple Ohabei Shalom✡️, it's not just a synagogue; it's a living testament to 180 years of fostering connection, learning, and "tikkun olam" – repairing the world.

Temple Ohabei Shalom - Brookline

Temple Ohabei Shalom, Brookline, MA
Temple Ohabei Shalom, Brookline, MA

Nestled amidst the vibrant tapestry of Brookline, Massachusetts, stands ✡️Temple Ohabei Shalom (Wikipedia), a magnificent landmark not just for its architectural grandeur but also for the progressive Jewish spirit it embodies. Founded in 1842, Ohabei Shalom boasts the title of the oldest Jewish congregation in Massachusetts, its rich history interwoven with the narrative of Reform Judaism in America.

More than just a synagogue, Ohabei Shalom is a vibrant community center: a tapestry woven from threads of inclusive worship, lifelong learning, and tikkun olam (repair of the world). Its welcoming embrace extends to individuals of all backgrounds and beliefs, making it a true beacon of inclusivity and acceptance in the heart of Brookline.

A Storied Past:

Established in 1842 by German Jews, Ohabei Shalom's journey began with the establishment of the Temple Ohabei Shalom Cemetery in East Boston. Soon after, in 1851, the congregation erected its first synagogue on Warren Street, Boston. This handsome, two-story wooden structure with arched windows resembling the Ten Commandments served as a spiritual home for nearly a decade.

Through the years, the congregation moved twice more in Boston before finding its permanent sanctuary in Brookline in 1925. The present building, a blend of Byzantine and Moorish Revival styles, reflects an air of grandeur and opulence. The magnificent sanctuary, modeled after Hagia Sophia, seats 1,800 with a smaller chapel accommodating 300. The domed structure, originally intended to have a tall minaret, also houses a large school, an auditorium, a ballroom, a museum, a library, and a reading room.

Beyond the Walls:

Temple Ohabei Shalom's significance extends far beyond its architectural beauty. It serves as a vibrant hub for the Jewish community, offering a multitude of programs and events throughout the year. Here list of Upcoming events at Temple Ohabei Shalom.

  • Candlelight Concerts: Immerse yourself in the enchanting melodies of renowned musicians during the temple's renowned candlelight concert series. These intimate evenings, held in the historic sanctuary, offer a unique opportunity to appreciate music and art in a sacred space.
  • Engaging Events: From stimulating lectures and educational workshops to joyous holiday celebrations and family-friendly activities, Ohabei Shalom's calendar is brimming with events catering to diverse interests and age groups. Learn more about events and programs.
  • Welcoming Atmosphere: Whether you're seeking spiritual guidance, intellectual stimulation, or simply a sense of belonging, Ohabei Shalom's doors are always open. The warm and welcoming atmosphere fosters a sense of community and inclusivity, making it a haven for individuals of all backgrounds.

Here are just a few reasons why Temple Ohabei Shalom shines as a beacon of Reform Judaism:

  • Progressive Practices: Embracing the evolving nature of Judaism, Ohabei Shalom welcomes diverse interpretations of faith and tradition, offering meaningful prayer services that resonate with contemporary hearts and minds.
  • Lifelong Learning: Ohabei Shalom is a hub of intellectual exploration, with a plethora of educational programs catering to all ages and interests. From Hebrew classes and adult learning initiatives to engaging youth programs, the temple fosters a vibrant culture of continuous learning and growth.
  • Tikkun Olam:  Guided by the core belief that we are all created b'tzelem Elohim (in the image of God), Ohabei Shalom is deeply committed to social justice and repairing the world. Through a multitude of social action initiatives, from advocating for refugee rights to supporting local community organizations, the temple empowers its members to make a positive impact on the world around them.
  • A Welcoming Embrace: Ohabei Shalom prides itself on its open and inclusive spirit. Individuals of all backgrounds and affiliations are warmly welcomed, forming a diverse and vibrant community united by shared values and a love for Judaism.

Beyond its historical significance and progressive practices, Temple Ohabei Shalom✡️ also boasts architectural splendor. The majestic 1928 sanctuary, a harmonious blend of Greek Revival, Moorish Revival, and Neo-Byzantine styles, stands as a testament to the congregation's rich heritage and ongoing commitment to enriching the Brookline landscape.

Planning Your Visit:

Visiting Temple Ohabei Shalom is an enriching experience for anyone seeking a glimpse into Jewish history and culture. Here's what you need to know before your visit:

  • Location: Conveniently situated at 1187 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 02446, the temple is easily accessible by public transportation or car.
  • Visiting hours: The synagogue is open for tours and events throughout the week. Check the official website for specific timings and event listings.
  • Parking: The temple offers ample parking facilities on-site, making it convenient for visitors arriving by car.
  • Accessibility: The temple is wheelchair accessible, ensuring everyone can comfortably enjoy its beauty and offerings.
  • Seating Capacity: The sanctuary can comfortably accommodate over 800 people, offering ample space for both intimate gatherings and grand celebrations.
  • Nearby Attractions: After your visit to Ohabei Shalom, explore the charming town of Brookline. Take a stroll down Beacon Street, lined with historic brownstones and chic boutiques, or visit the renowned Brookline Village for a delightful dining experience.

Frequently Asked Questions about Temple Ohabei Shalom

How can I get involved with Temple Ohabei Shalom?

  • Visit the synagogue's website or contact the synagogue directly to learn more about its programs and events.
  • Attend a Shabbat service or other religious service.
  • Volunteer your time or make a donation.
  • Here are some additional tips for making 

What are some of the features of the synagogue?

The present building of Temple Ohabei Shalom is a beautiful example of Byzantine Revival and Moorish Revival architecture. The domed sanctuary can seat 1,800 people, and there is also a smaller chapel for more intimate gatherings. The synagogue also houses a school, an auditorium, a ballroom, a museum, a library, and a reading room.

What are some of the programs and activities offered by Temple Ohabei Shalom?

Temple Ohabei Shalom offers a wide range of programs and activities for people of all ages. These include religious services, educational programs, social events, and community outreach initiatives. The synagogue also has a preschool, religious school, and adult education classes.

What is the architecture of the synagogue like?

The current Temple Ohabei Shalom building is a beautiful example of Byzantine Revival and Moorish Revival styles. The domed sanctuary can seat 1,800 people, and there is also a smaller chapel for more intimate gatherings.

What are the synagogue's religious beliefs?

Temple Ohabei Shalom is a Reform synagogue. This means that the synagogue emphasizes the ethical teachings of Judaism and welcomes people of all backgrounds and beliefs.

Does the synagogue have a dress code?

There is no formal dress code at Temple Ohabei Shalom. However, it is considered respectful to dress modestly when attending services or visiting the synagogue.

What can I do there?

Temple Ohabei Shalom offers a variety of opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds. You can attend worship services, participate in educational programs, volunteer in the community, or simply explore the beautiful building and grounds.

Is it open to the public?

Yes! While Temple Ohabei Shalom is primarily a place of worship for its members, visitors are welcome to attend public events, tours, and educational programs.

Does the temple have a school? 

Yes, the temple houses the Diane K. Trust Center For Early Education and Ansin Religious School, offering education for children of all ages.

Can I get married at Temple Ohabei Shalom? 

Yes, the temple offers wedding ceremonies for its members and sometimes for non-members depending on availability.

Is there parking available? 

Yes, the temple has a parking lot on-site.

Can I visit the synagogue?

Yes! Temple Ohabei Shalom welcomes visitors for worship services, tours, and special events. Check their website or contact them directly for more information.

Who are the rabbis?

The current spiritual leadership team comprises Rabbi Audrey Berkman, Assistant Rabbi Jennifer Queen, and Rabbi Emerita, Emily Gopen Lipof.

What educational programs does it offer?

Temple Ohabei Shalom houses the Diane K. Trust Center For Early Education and Ansin Religious School, providing education for children of all ages. Adults can participate in various learning programs, lectures, and workshops.

How can I learn more about Temple Ohabei Shalom?

You can visit the synagogue's website at or call the synagogue at (617) 277-6610.


Temple Ohabei Shalom ✡️ is more than just a synagogue; it's a vibrant community, a center of learning, and a beacon of hope. It's a place where tradition meets innovation, where compassion thrives, and where hearts and minds come together to make a difference in the world. Whether you're seeking spiritual fulfillment, intellectual stimulation, or a sense of belonging, Temple Ohabei Shalom welcomes you with open arms. So, why not embark on your own journey to Temple Ohabei Shalom? Discover the warmth of its community, the depth of its learning, and the transformative power of its spirit. Open your heart and find your place within this vibrant tapestry of faith, hope, and inclusivity.

Visit the Temple Ohabei Shalom website ( to learn more about their services, events, and membership opportunities. Attend a Shabbat service, join a learning group, or volunteer your time. Take the first step towards discovering the transformative power of this remarkable community.


Thanks for reading Temple Ohabei Shalom: A Beacon of Reform Judaism in Brookline

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