Old Ohavi Zedek Synagogue

Old Ohavi Zedek Synagogue (Hebrew for "Lovers of Justice") is a historic synagogue building at Archibald and Hyde Streets in Burlington, Vermont. It was built in 1885 for Ohavi Zedek, Vermont's oldest Jewish congregation, and is currently occupied by Congregation Ahavath Gerim. The building, a distinctive vernacular interpretation of the Gothic Revival, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.[1]

Old Ohavi Zedek Synagogue
OldOhaviZedek crop.JPG
Old Ohavi Zedek Synagogue is located in Vermont
Old Ohavi Zedek Synagogue
Old Ohavi Zedek Synagogue is located in the United States
Old Ohavi Zedek Synagogue
LocationArchibald and Hyde Sts., Burlington, Vermont
Coordinates44°29′18″N 73°12′26″W / 44.48833°N 73.20722°W / 44.48833; -73.20722Coordinates: 44°29′18″N 73°12′26″W / 44.48833°N 73.20722°W / 44.48833; -73.20722
Built1885 (1885)
NRHP reference No.78000233[1]
Added to NRHPJanuary 31, 1978


June 29, 2014

Founded in 1876,[2] Ohavi Zedek is the oldest Jewish congregation in Vermont. The congregation was founded by Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, predominantly Lithuanian Jews. The congregation constructed this building in 1885, and in 1952 the congregation moved to its present home on North Prospect Street. This building was sold to Ahavath Gerim, a traditional egalitarian Conservative congregation.


The original Ohavi Zedek building stands at the corner of Archibald and Hyde Streets in Burlington's Old North End neighborhood. It is a rectangular brick building with a gabled roof and Gothic Revival features. The front facade has arched windows flanking an arched entry, accessed by side-facing stairs. Above the entrance is a round window with a Star of David. The building sides also have arched windows, with small oculus windows interspersed above them, which provide illumination for the women's gallery.[3]

The building was erected in 1885, and is among the oldest synagogue buildings still standing in the United States.[4] Originally finished in wood, it was clad in brick in 1902, when it was enlarged. It was again enlarged in 1928, at which time the present Torah ark was built. It has a Classical design, with a depiction of the Ten Commandments flanked by gilded lions and pineapple finials.[3]

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  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  2. ^ Marilyn J. Chiat, America's Religious Architecture: Sacred Places for Every Community, John Wiley & Sons, 1997, p. 31. ISBN 9780471145028
  3. ^ a b JohN Axtell (1977). "NRHP nomination for Old Ohavi Zedek Synagogue". National Park Service. Retrieved 2016-11-11. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) with photos from 1977
  4. ^ Rediscovering Jewish Infrastructure: Update on United States Nineteenth Century Synagogues, Mark W. Gordon, American Jewish History 84.1 (1996) 11-27 [1]. 2019 article update.