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About Us


Ohev Sholom: The National Synagogue (OSTNS) is a vibrant Orthodox community located in the Shepherd Park neighborhood of Washington, DC.  We are committed to upholding and practicing the tenets of halacha while remaining open and welcoming to all Jews regardless of their practice.  OSTNS's location allows its members to live a complete Jewish life.  In addition to being accessible to downtown Washington, DC, OSTNS is conveniently located near multiple Jewish day schools, kosher restaurants and supermarkets.  Our shul is also located close to the border with Maryland, offering our congregants a variety of beautiful neighborhoods in which to live.

Ohev Sholom's history dates back to the founding of one of its predecessor shuls in 1886.  In 1958, the shul moved to Shepherd Park, a vibrant neighborhood that served as a center for Jewish life for many years thereafter - if you know someone Jewish who lived in DC in the 1950s to 1980s, he or she likely has a connection to our synagogue - but in the late 1980s and 90s, the shul struggled as many Jews left Washington, DC to move to other communities in the suburbs.  All of that changed, however, in 2004 when the shul hired Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld.  Under the leadership of a small, but strong, lay community and Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld, the direction of the shul turned around.  In 2004, the shul had its first bris in almost 30 years, and today there are over 180 children in our community.  This youth explosion led to the shul hiring a youth director, and our youth programming includes Shabbat groups for kids of all ages, a summer camp, a weekly learning program, and other events to celebrate the chagim. 

The congregation provides a very welcoming environment where everyone feels quickly comfortable and at home.  Rabbi Herzfeld leads a plethora of weekly classes; the shul hosts multiple scholars-in-residence throughout the year; we sponsor two Steinzaltz ambassadors from Israel who teach both our children and our adults; and our book club meets on a regular basis.  The shul has also been working to expand the role of women in a halachically sensitive manner in the community's religious practices.   And, of course, we have both daily and Shabbat minyanim every day of the year. Our shul recognizes its place in both the local and larger Jewish community.  We are committed to Israel, and have sent multiple missions to Israel. 

The congregation at OSTNS is a very welcoming community and makes every attempt to assist newcomers to become a part of the community. We have a very spirited and active youth contingent, offering Shabbat activities, after school programming, summer camp, and Jewish sports leagues, among many other activities. The synagogue also encourages participation by those with special needs through a monthly dinner  with residents of the Jewish Foundation for Group Homes, as well as having a nearby group home for Jewish residents that enables them to easily participate in all of the synagogue's activities and become an even greater part of our community. Each Thanksgiving, OSTNS provides a free holiday meal for the greater Washington Area community for those who may have nowhere to go.  Additionally, our shul provides communal meals each Shabbat, Rosh Hashanah, Sukkot and Pesach.  We also build a sukkah in downtown DC to provide a sukkah where Jews who work in the area can have their lunch. 

OSTNS owns two historic cemeteries, in Southeast DC and in Capitol Heights, MD, that are very well maintained.  The cemeteries offer an affordable burial option for our members who wish to be buried in the DC area.

We are proud of our community, and we invite you to join us for a class, daily minyan, a Shabbat, or even just to drop by during the day to say hello.  If you do visit for Shabbat, please stay for our sit-down Shabbat kiddush lunch that is open to the entire community.


Since 2004, Shmuel Herzfeld has been the Rabbi of Ohev Sholom: The National Synagogue, the oldest Orthodox synagogue in Washington, DC. His communal responsibilities include teaching classes, attending to the elderly, the youth, and the sick, and ministering to the pastoral needs of the congregation, which currently includes more than 300 families. He received rabbinic ordination from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, an affiliate of Yeshiva University, and a Masters in Jewish History from Bernard Revel Graduate School of Yeshiva University. From 1999 to 2004, Rabbi Herzfeld was Associate Rabbi at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, where he was mentored by Rabbi Avi Weiss. He is a frequent guest columnist in newspapers and now writes regularly for Huffington Post and The Washington Post. Rabbi Herzfeld teaches a daily Talmud class in his synagogue, at least two other weekly Torah classes in his synagogue, a weekly Torah class in downtown DC, and a regular class on Judaism at the US Senate. His first book, Fifty-Four Pick Up: Fifteen Minute Inspirational Torah Lessons, is now available at Amazon. His Torah sermons and thoughts can be found at He lives in Washington, DC, with his wife, Dr. Rhanni Herzfeld, and seven children.

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