Oheb Shalom Congregation was founded in 1860 by a group of families who were seeking more traditional synagogue practice. Rabbi Isaac Schwarz became the first rabbi at the newly formed Oheb Shalom, Lover of Peace. The synagogue was housed on Prince Street in a new building, in Newark, New Jersey, which has now become a designated state historic landmark. The young congregation began to turn toward the Conservative movement, then in its infancy, and was soon led by Rabbi Charles I. Hoffman, a member of the first graduating class of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. A period of rapid growth necessitated a move to High Street in 1910. By 1918 Oheb Shalom had become a leading Conservative synagogue in the United States. Rabbi Hoffman retired and the congregation welcomed Dr. Louis M. Levitsky, a dynamic rabbi, teacher, author and pioneer of organized adult Jewish education programs. The congregation continued to thrive and, in 1940, Cantor Edgar Mills joined the professional staff. Once again the congregation outgrew its home. In 1958 the present building on Scotland Road opened its doors. Rabbi Levitsky retired in 1972 and was succeeded by Rabbi Alexander Shapiro who led the congregation for 20 years, until his death. Rabbi Shapiro reached out to the community at large and was well respected for his adherence to tradition, responsiveness to change and bold commitment to social activism.
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