History of Ohev Sholom

1945_RabbiMiller_fullIn 1877, Rutherford B. Hays was President of the United States, the first practical phonograph was invented, electricity was used for the first time for street light – and Michael Levin organized the first High Holiday Services at 9th & Mulberry in Kansas City, Kansas for a congregation whose name eventually would become Ohev Sholom.

For two years the congregation worshipped in members’ homes, at which point the founding members purchased a building at 925 State Line, officially dedicated it as their spiritual home, and named their congregation “Congregation Gomel Chesed.” In its first decade, the congregation doubled its membership, and held picnics, dinners, raffles and other benefits to pay off its mortgage. The devastating Flood of 1902 caused a split in the congregation, but only temporarily.

In 1923, Congregations Gomel Chesed and Shearith Israel restored their original unity and applied for a charter as Congregation Ohev Sholom, “Lovers of Peace.”  The following year, the congregation built a 225-seat sanctuary at 7th & Sandusky in Kansas City, Kansas. By 1950 more than 70 percent of the congregation had moved from Wyandotte to Johnson County, and the congregation began taking steps to relocate.

By the middle of the decade, President Sam Waldman had found the ideal location at 75th and Nall.  He and several committees raised $145,000 for our current Ohev home.  The decade ended with a contract to build a new facility, and groundbreaking ceremonies were held October 2, 1960. By 1967, less than a decade after groundbreaking ceremonies, Ohev celebrated its 90th anniversary by paying off its mortgage in full and holding ceremonies for the final building phase of the new sanctuary.

Congregation Ohev Sholom celebrated its 130th anniversary in 2007.