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About Ohavi Zedek Synagogue

An Inclusive and Diverse Jewish Community

memorial2Vermont’s oldest and largest Jewish congregation, Ohavi Zedek Synagogue (or OZ) was founded in 1885 by 18 Jewish immigrants from Lithuania. Today we are a community of about 325 families. Our vibrant, egalitarian and inclusive congregation is committed to embracing tradition while actively participating in our changing Jewish world. Our membership consists of individuals and families from every liberal Jewish background: Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist and Renewal. We are a kehilla (a sacred community) where everyone is welcome, including intermarried and LGBTQ families. Whether your interest in Judaism is religious, social, educational, or simply about Tikkun Olam (Ohavi Zedek means “lovers of justice”) you will find a home at OZ. We embrace our diversity as our greatest strength.

Our History

Ohavi Zedek is committed to being a vibrant Jewish community in Vermont, embracing traditions while actively participating in the changing Jewish world.

Eighteen people created Ohavi Zedek Synagogue, Vermont’s oldest and largest Jewish Congregation, in 1885. Ohavi Zedek has grown to include approximately 400 families who are a diverse blend of descendents of those earlier settlers and a growing group of newcomers to Vermont. Ohavi Zedek, which means Lovers of Justice, offers religious, spiritual, educational and community services and programs to people of all ages.

Under the leadership of Rabbi Amy Small, OZ, as it is lovingly called, emphasizes a spirit of tolerance and mutual respect for its members and for the community. Ohavi Zedek’s current home is on 188 North Prospect Street which was built in 1952.

Ohavi Zedek Sancutary

Ohavi Zedek Sancutary

Our Vision and Mission

Vision:

To be a vibrant Jewish community in Vermont, embracing our traditions while actively participating in our changing Jewish world.

Mission:

  • To nurture our personal and shared Jewish identity.
  • To respond to our spiritual, educational, cultural and social needs.
  • To give expression to Jewish values through our commitment to the community at large.

Goals:

  • To inspire Jewish learning, spirituality and growth.
  • To increase commitment to the basic building blocks of Jewish life.
  • To increase membership.
  • To become a center for Jewish culture.
  • To develop a blueprint to help us use our buildings and property in ways that meet the needs of our members.
  • To provide leadership for and participation in gmilut hasadim in the community at large.
  • To provide the financial and institutional support to accomplish the mission.