OZ is a vibrant social center for an inclusive, multigenerational congregation that fosters friendship and caring between all of our 300 member families. We come from many Jewish paths and embrace our diversity as our greatest strength. At OZ we strive to build and maintain a Jewish community where you always have a family and a home.
We recognize that the study of Torah is a life-long endeavor. We respectfully engage the tradition of our sages and, together, shape its meaning for our own time. We engage young families, children, teenagers, and adults of all ages in educational experiences that deepen their understanding of their own Judaism and its place in the larger world.
We shape joyful and meaningful forms of prayer and meditation, cherishing our tradition while embracing innovation, to meet the diverse needs of our community and foster the celebration of Judaism. We encourage the exploration of our own personal paths through Judaism while seeking to remain grounded in our connection to the shared communal experience of prayer.
Vermont’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 300 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 are a Conservative synagogue, a member of the United Synagogues of Conservative Judaism. We embrace our diversity as our greatest strength.
In 1910 the interior of Chai Adam synagogue in Burlington, VT was gloriously painted from ceiling to floor by Ben Zion Black, who was brought from Lithuania by the congregation to paint the synagogue in the prevalent style of the wooden shuls of Eastern Europe. Decades later the synagogues in Burlington merged and the Chai Adam building was sold several times before ultimately being converted into apartment units. Much of the painting was destroyed during the renovation but the mural over the ark was covered by a wall and forgotten until 2012 when the Lost Shul Mural was uncovered for the first time in nearly thirty years.
Now, a hundred years later, we have the opportunity to preserve this priceless treasure before it too is lost to history. As we honor the lives of all those lost in the Shoah, we here in the Burlington, VT Jewish community, led by Ohavi Zedek Synagogue, have taken upon ourselves the role of preserving this art and protecting it for future generations.