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 shul - but in the late 1980s and 90s, the shul struggled as many Jews left Washington, DC to move to other communities. 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 200 children in our community. This extreme growth 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; 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. Ohev Sholom was the first synagogue in the United States to hire a Maharat, or an ordained Orthodox female clergy member. Ruth Balinsky Friedman joined the congregation in 2013 and teaches weekly classes, offers pastoral services, and oversees the operation of our community mikvah, which opened in 2014. We also have both daily and Shabbat minyanim every day of the year. Our shul also recognizes its place in both the local and larger Jewish community. We are committed to Zionism, 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 shul 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 shul'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 well maintained. The cemeteries offer an affordable burial option for our members who wish to be buried in the DC area.
We are very 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.
Ohev Sholom - The National Synagogue is proud to partner with Energy Star. For more information about our Energy Star status, please visit our building profile on the Energy Star website. To learn more about the Energy Star Program, please visit www.energystar.gov.