On July 1, 2022, Congregation Ohev Sholom consolidated with Congregation Beth Shalom. The decision by both of Greater Kansas City’s two Conservative congregations to consolidate would strengthen the Conservative Movement in the community.
In 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 the congregation’s new 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
Consolidation with Beth Shalom
On June 26, 2022 the Ohev Sholom membership approved an agreement to consolidate with Congregation Beth Shalom at the congregational meeting. A similar decision was arrived at by the membership of Congregation Beth Shalom the same day.
The decision by both of Greater Kansas City’s two Conservative congregations to consolidate should and would strengthen the Conservative Movement in the community.
The decision to consolidate followed Ohev Sholom’s decision to sell the synagogue complex to Little Owly’s Nest of Knowledge, a preschool that had been renting the school wing of the complex for the previous five years. The closing of the building transaction was May 23, 2022.
The consolidation agreement, having been approved by both congregations, was formally signed by their respective presidents and then filed with the Office of the Secretary of State in both Kansas and Missouri, with an effective date of July 1, 2022.
The first Shabbat service of the newly, blended community was on July 2, 2022 at Congregation Beth Shalom.On Shabbat morning, September 24, 2022, we formally celebrated by honoring the volunteer and professional leadership that worked for over a year to make the consolidation a reality. We concluded the Torah service with and a moving ceremony as we dressed the Torah scrolls from both Ohev Sholom and Beth Shalom, in their traditional white covers, in preparation for our first combined High Holiday season.