175 years old, Har Sinai Congregation is the oldest continuously Reform congregation in the United States.
It began with regular services in the home of Moses Hutzler on May 15, 1842. Back then, the practice was “almost orthodox” with only a few controversial moderate innovations. By 1849, the Congregation built its own temple on High Street in Baltimore and acquired a cemetery. With their own building and the acceptance of reforms in other Jewish congregations in American cities, Har Sinai Congregation came into its own.
In 1855, Har Sinai Congregation employed its first rabbi, David Einhorn, who continued the spirit of modern Reform Jewish practice from Germany. He published a prayer book, “Olat Tamid,” which was to become the basis for the Union Prayer Book and future prayer books of the movement of Reform Judaism.
Har Sinai Congregation has been served by 18 rabbis, many who have made their imprint on American Jewish life, including Samuel Sale, one of the first American born rabbis; Edward Israel who, for 18 years, taught how religious life could be applied to the social agenda; Abraham Shusterman whose television program, “To Promote Good Will,” furthered interfaith relations in Baltimore; and Floyd Herman, our current, beloved Rabbi Emeritus who brings a spirituality and caring to this temple.
Har Sinai Congregation is today in its fourth home, located in Owings Mills, MD, on the outskirts of Baltimore.
We welcome you to Har Sinai: proud of our past… excited for our future!