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OHEB ZEDEK

OHEB ZEDEK (Taylor Rd. Synagogue), the largest Orthodox congregation in Cleveland, was founded in 1904 and incorporated 5 other small to medium-sized Orthodox congregations in the early 1950s. Over 40 Hungarian Jews, many of whom had left Congregation B'NAI JESHURUN in a dispute over mixed seating, formed Oheb Zedek. In 1905 the congregation purchased property at E. 38th and Scovill and began building a synagogue, completed in Sept. of that year. Henry A. Liebowitz served as the first rabbi (1906-22). By 1915 the congregation operated a branch in GLENVILLE near 107th and Superior for those members who had moved. A new synagogue was dedicated at Parkwood and Morrison streets in Glenville in Aug. 1922; the Triedstone Baptist Church purchased the Scovill building. Although membership was less than 400, the new synagogue seated 1,200. Samuel Benjamin, who had previously served at ANSHE EMETH, was the rabbi at the time of the dedication (1922-25). He was followed by Rabbi ISRAEL PORATH (1925-39); he was succeeded by Rabbi Louis Engelberg. By 1950, since approximately half the membership of Oheb Zedek lived in CLEVELAND HTS. near Taylor Rd., a branch was established there. In 1952 Oheb Zedek merged with Chibas Jerusalem to form the 500-member Taylor Rd. Synagogue. In 1953 the Parkwood property was sold and in 1955 the present (1995) synagogue dedicated. During that 2-year period, Taylor Rd. Synagogue completed mergers with Agudath B'nai Israel Anshe Sfard (1953), Agudath Achim (1953), Shaaray Torah (1955), and Knesseth Israel (1955).

Chibas Jerusalem was established in 1904 by 35 Jews who rented Crystal Hall at Woodland and E. 39th St. for services. In 1910 the congregation purchased a building at E. 39th and Scovill. However, as Jews in Woodland moved eastward, the congregation built synagogues at E. 84th and Cedar Rd. (1917) and on Parkwood Dr. in Glenville (1926). It was the largest of the 5 congregations to merge with Oheb Zedek.

Agudath B'nai Israel Anshe Sfard was established in 1914 and held services in a rented hall on E. 51st near Woodland. It was one of the last congregations to leave the Woodland neighborhood, dedicating a synagogue at 105th and Massie Ave. in 1934 or 1935.

Agudath Achim was established in 1891, with Elias Rothschild serving as the spiritual leader. Services were held in a series of rented halls downtown until 1904, when it purchased a building at E. 30th and Scovill. The congregation moved to Glenville in 1927, and in 1932 it remodeled a church at 104th and Adams St., where it held services until merging with Taylor Rd. Synagogue.

Shaaray Torah was established in 1897 by Lithuanian Jews who met for services at the home of Isaac Crystal near E. 23rd and Orange. From 1912-29 the congregation worshipped in a small brick synagogue on E. 55th St. A building on 105th in Glenville was later purchased and remodeled, adjacent to the Cleveland Jewish Center (see ANSHE EMETH).

Knesseth Israel was established in 1887 by 12 men who had left Congregation B'nai Jeshurun. The congregation held services in several locations until 1907, when it dedicated a synagogue on E. 46th between Woodland and Scovill. In the early 1920s, the congregation operated 3 branches, in Woodland, Glenville, and Buckeye. In 1922 a synagogue was dedicated at 105th and Columbia, which served as its home until the merger with Taylor Rd. Synagogue. Rabbi David Zlatin served the synagogue from 1984-1995.


Taylor Rd. Synagogue Records, WRHS.

See also JEWS AND JUDAISM, RELIGION.