Ohev Sholom Talmud Torah Congregation

In 1906, newly arrived Russian immigrants converted a church at 5th and I Streets, NW, to establish Ohev Sholom, the third synagogue in the 7th Street neighborhood.

Members of Ohev Sholom had first met in 1886 above Myer Fisher’s clothing store on 7th Street, NW. Across town, residents of Southwest founded Talmud Torah Congregation in 1887. Six years later, they built a new synagogue at 467 E Street, SW. Following the migration of Jewish families out of Southwest and uptown, Talmud Torah moved to 14th and Emerson Streets, NW, into the former home of B’nai Israel. In 1951, they began sharing space in the Hebrew Academy of Washington’s new school building on upper 16th Street.

Facing declining memberships, the congregations merged in 1958. In 1960, Ohev Sholom Talmud Torah built a stately white limestone synagogue at 16th and Jonquil Streets, NW, across the street from Tifereth Israel.

Members who had moved to Olney, Maryland created a synagogue branch near their homes in 1994. The Olney synagogue is now independent.

Recently, with membership on the rise, the District shul has begun making plans to invigorate a growing modern Orthodox community in Shepherd Park and nearby Silver Spring.

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Talmud Torah synagogue, 467 E Street, S.W.

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1. Talmud Torah synagogue, 467 E Street, SW

Before the completion of this Byzantine-Moorish synagogue in 1905, members of Talmud Torah Congregation held services in members’ homes. Moshe Yoelson, whose son Asa gained worldwide fame as entertainer Al Jolson, served as the chazzan (cantor).

Courtesy D.C. Public Library, Washingtoniana Collection
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Banquet at Talmud Torah, 467 E Street, S.W., c. 1935

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2. Banquet at Talmud Torah

JHSGW Collections
Razing of Talmud Torah synagogue, 1959

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3. Razing of Talmud Torah synagogue, 1959

Eight years after the congregation sold the building, the former Talmud Torah synagogue was one of the last buildings razed as part of the redevelopment of Southwest.

© Washington Post; Reprinted by permission of the D.C. Public Library
Ohev Sholom, 5th and I Streets, N.W.

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4. Ohev Sholom, 5th and I Streets, NW

At the time of its conversion to a synagogue in 1906, this was one of three synagogues in the 7th Street neighborhood. Corinthian Baptist Church, the present owner, has put the building up for sale.

Photograph by Jeremy Goldberg
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Interior, 5th and I Street, 2005

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5. Interior

When Ohev Sholom sold its building at 5th and I Streets, NW, the new owners made alterations to the stained-glass windows. They converted the Jewish symbols by having the points on the Stars of David removed.

© Patricia Fisher 2005. JHSGW Collections
Ohev Sholom Installation of officers at 5th and I Streets N.W., 1927

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6. Ohev Sholom Installation of officers at 5th and I Streets, NW, 1927

Ohev Sholom Collections
Ohev Sholom Talmud Torah, 16th and Jonquil Streets, NW

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7. Ohev Sholom Talmud Torah, 16th and Jonquil Streets, NW

Silver Spring architect John d’Epagnier designed the Jonquil Street synagogue. Typical of the modern aesthetic of post-World War II architecture, the contemporary building employs sweeping lines and broad arches.

Photograph by Jeremy Goldberg
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