Temple Ohabei Shalom is a large, Reform
synagogue in Brookline, Massachusetts under the spiritual
leadership of Rabbi Sonia Saltzman,
Cantor Randall Schloss and Rabbi Emerita, Emily Gopen Lipof.
Organized in 1842 with a membership largely of German
origin, it is the oldest Jewish congregation in
Massachusetts. the congregation’s first act was to establish a
cemetery, the Temple Ohabei Shalom Cemetery. A registered
historic site located in East Boston.
The first synagogue building, erected in 1851 on Warren
Street, Boston, was a handsome, two-story wooden structure,
with a doorway flanked by a pair of windows on each side,
and balanced by three pairs of windows on the second floor.
The windows, each set a pair with arched tops, resembled the
standard representation of the tablets of the ten
commandments. The sanctuary could seat 400 and had space for
a Hebrew School, a meeting room, and a mikveh.
The congregation’s present building, an opulent
structure at 1187 Beacon Street in suburban Brookline that
combined Byzantine Revival and Moorish Revival styles, was
dedicated in 1925. The sanctuary seats 1,800. The smaller
chapel accommodates 300. The domed building was intended to
have a tall minaret, architect’s renditions of the building
with the minaret survive, although it was never built.
The sanctuary was modeled on Hagia Sophia because of the
excitement then felt over recent excavations of
Byzantine-era synagogues in the land of Israel. The building
includes a large school, an auditorium, a ballroom, a museum,
a library, and a reading room.
Photo 46, Feb 2012