Congregation Oheb Shalom, South Orange, New Jersey

  • Dates: 1857-1991
  • Size: 3.7 linear ft.
  • Number of Boxes: 4
  • Languages:
    • English
    • German
  • Location: Special Collections Reading Room, Jewish Theological Seminary Library.
  • Restrictions: Reproduction of fragile items is not permitted; consult the archivist about literary rights.
  • Gifts Of: Congregation Oheb Shalom officers David Schechner, Natalie Tambor, and Rabbi Alexander Shapiro
  • Date: 1990, 1991
  • Related Collections: Charles I. Hoffman Papers (JTS Library); Louis Levitsky Papers (Ratner Center), Alexander Shapiro Papers (Ratner Center)

JJB, 7/30/91; rev. JM, 9/4/91

Table of Contents:

A Note on Folder Headings

Individual folders are identified in the following way on the left side of each folder: Name of Collection, box #/folder#, as in Ben Zion Bokser Papers, 4/22. Please use this format in citations and when referring to files for any other reason.

Historical Note

Congregation Oheb Shalom was founded in Newark, New Jersey in 1860 by the rabbi and former members of congregation B'nai Jeshurun, also in Newark.

The congregation's first synagogue was at 33 Prince Street in Newark. As the congregation began to grow a new building was needed. Under the presidency of Samuel Schwarz funds were raised and in 1911 a new synagogue was dedicated. Two notable speakers on this occasion were Seminary president Solomon Schechter and then Governor of New Jersey, Woodrow Wilson. In 1957 Oheb Shalom moved from Newark to the suburb of South Orange. This relocation reflected the exodus of a large portion of the community from the city to the suburbs.

Oheb Shalom has been led by a group of distinguished rabbis. Rabbi Charles Isaiah Hoffman served the congregation from 1906 until 1940 and was one of the founders of the Seminary's Alumni Association, the forerunner of the Rabbinical Assembly of America. Rabbi Hoffman was followed by Dr. Louis M. Levitsky, who served from 1940 to 1972. Dr. Levitsky established a university of adult Jewish studies at the synagogue. In 1972 Rabbi Alexander Shapiro was appointed rabbi. He has followed in the footsteps of his predecessors in maintaining Oheb Shalom as a strong, vital community and a leader in adult education programs.

Collection Description

The records of Congregation Oheb Shalom are divided into two parts. One part consists largely of photocopies of documents dating from 1857 to 1991, while the other consists of original documents, 1880-1975. As a whole, the collection consists of a somewhat miscellaneous group of items which document events at Oheb Shalom from the mid- nineteenth century to the present. Included are: correspondence; minutes, reports, resolutions, and other records of the board of trustees; rabbis' reports, 1908-1960; speeches of rabbis Schwarz, Hoffman, and Levitsky; issues of the weekly Oheb Shalom Review, 1911-1988; fundraising and financial records; material relating to the synagogue's buildings; records of the Men's Club, 1987, and the Miriam Verein Women's Auxiliary, 1880-1970s; cemetery records; miscellaneous programs and invitations, 1916-1986, including one for a memorial service for Dr. Solomon Schechter, 1916, and another for the induction ceremony of Rabbi Louis Levitsky, 1940; by-laws, policy statements, clippings, circulars, and other material.

Also included are minutes and articles outlining the mergers of Oheb Shalom's schools with those of Congregations B'nai Israel (Elizabeth) and Beth El (South Orange), 1978-1980, as well as the proposed amalgamation of these combined high schools with the Central Hebrew High School of the Jewish Education Association of New Jersey.

Of particular note are some photocopied pages from a record book (box 2, folder 9), 1910-1917. Included here are lists of committee members; names and addresses of congregants; trustees' meeting attendence lists; a list of dates and durations of synagogue services; some accounts; and other information.

Also of note are resolutions passed by Oheb Shalom's trustees concerning: the synagogue's incorporation, 1911; establishment of the Dr. Louis M. Levitsky Memorial Fund at at The Jewish Theological Seminary, 1976; an outline of Cantor Henry Rosenblum's contract in 1978; and a denunciation of the Cantors Assembly's rejection of Cantor Erica Lippitz's application for membership, 1988.

Box List

Box  Folder(s)  Description
  I. Photocopies, 1857-1991
1 1-2 Anniversary material, 25th, 30th, 70th, 100th, and 120th anniversaries, 1930-1981
 3 Board of Trustees, minutes, 1948-1988; n.d. (gaps)
 4 Bylaws, 1936; 1969; 1984
 5 Commencement exercises, programs, 1954-1972
 6 Committee chairpeople and members, 1972-1986; committee descriptions
 7 Consecration services for the Zeman Religious School of Congregation Oheb Shalom, programs, 1971; 1977
Constitution for Rayim, n.d., a social organization for young married couples
 8 Correspondence, 1889-1988
 9 Dedication of Beth Torah, 1983
Dedication of new building, 1911
Expansion Program, 1943-1944, n.d.
 10 Fundraising 1958-1978, n.d.
 11 High Street Sale, 1955-1957
 12 Installation and Dinner, 1977
 13 Kolenu, (student publication), 1946-1952, n.d.
 14 Memorial Services, 1948-1989
Men's Club, 1987, n.d.
 15 Miriam Verein Ladies Auxiliary, 1911-1987
 16 Newspaper clippings, 1880-1987; n.d.
Poetry 1920-1970
Play programs 1982-1988; n.d.
 17 Policy statements, 1977
Programs and Invitations, 1916-1986; n.d.
"Records of a Year's Work," (listing events of the year), 1942
 18 Reports of the rabbi, 1908-1960; n.d.
 19 Resolutions, 1911-1988
 20 School Merger, 1978-1980, n.d.
 21 Scotland Road Synagogue Programs, 1956-1958
 22 Speeches, 1857-1965, n.d.
United Synagogue Youth Pamphlets, 1978-1979, n.d.
 23-26 Standing Committee Reports, 1957-1991, n.d.
2 1 Building plans, Scotland Road
Building Fund, 1944
Building Fund and committee reports, 1955-1956
 2 Cemetery Association
    a. Deed, 1899.
    b. Prices, 1905; 1912

Confirmation Exercises
    a. Programs, 1926-1954
    b. Photograph, n.d.
 3 Education - programs, newsletters, reports, 1944-1976; n.d.
 4-5 Financial Statements, 1911-1988
 6 High Street Building Fund records, 1907-1912

Living Book Series
    a. Programs, 1955-1973.
    b. Budget, 1970.
    c. Committee List, 1961.
 7-8 Oheb Shalom Review, 1911-1988.
 9 Pages from a record book, 1910-1917.
Pledges, 1972.
Sale of 181 Academy Street, 1956.
 10 Torah rededication ceremony, program, 1980.
 11 Yearly schedules of events and special services, 1906; 1927; 1931; 1934; 1963; 195; 1978; 1985
  II. Original Documents, 1880-1985
3 1-7 See attached list.
4 1-6 "    "    "