Finding aid for the Taylor Road Synagogue Records

Repository: Western Reserve Historical Society
Creator: Taylor Road Synagogue
Title: Taylor Road Synagogue Records
Dates: 1919-1968
Extent: 3.30 linear feet (9 containers)
Abstract: Taylor Road Synagogue is the largest Orthodox congregation in Cleveland, Ohio, and is also known as Oheb Zedek Congregation. It was formed in the early 1950s by the merger of Oheb Zedek, Chibas Jerusalem, Agudas B Ľnai Israel, Agudas Achim, Shaaray Torah and Knesseth Israel congregations. The collection consists of ledgers and account books of Shaaray Torah Congregation (1919-1959), a membership ledger of Chibas Jerusalem Congregation (1930-1932), and financial statements, a general fund ledger and journal, invoices for paid bills, and receipts for dues and donations of Taylor Road Synagogue (1946-1968).
MS Number MS 3765
Location: closed stacks
Language: The records are in English and Yiddish

History of the Taylor Road Synagogue

The Taylor Road Synagogue (Oheb Zedek Congregation), Cleveland, Ohio, is the largest Orthodox congregation in the city. It was formed in the early 1950s by the merger of several smaller, older congregations - - Oheb Zedek, Chibas Jerusalem, Agudas B'nai Israel, Agudas Achim, Shaarary Torah and Knesseth Israel.

The Oheb Zedek Congregation was founded in October 1904 as an offshoot of the B'ne Jeshurun Congregation (now the Temple of the Heights), which had been established by Orthodox Clevelanders of Hungarian descent in the 1860s. Some forty founding members, under the leadership of Rabbi H. A. Liebovits of New Haven, established the first Oheb Zedek synagogue at East 38th Street and Scovill Avenue in 1905. By 1915, a branch had been founded at East 107th Street near Superior in the Glenville district, and by 1921 the congregation has its own cemetery on Lansing Road.

In august 1922, the expanding congregation dedicated a new building at Parkwood Drive and Morrison Avenue; Samuel Benjamin was rabbi. Rabbi Benjamin was succeeded three years later by Rabbi Israel Porath of Palestine. The present Congregational leader, Rabbi Louis Engelberg, came to Oheb Zedek Congregation in 1939, and within several years, plans were underway for a new buidling on Taylor Road in Cleveland Heights. By 1950 almost half of the congregation was living in the suburban neighborhoods around the recently founded Heights branch of the synagogue. In the summer of 1952 the finanl eastward move was made and the 500- memberTaylor Road Synagogue was incorporated. It was composed of Oheb Zedek and Chibas Jerusalem Congregation, and within the next five years, found other Orthodox congregations joined the synagogue. The Parkwood Drive property was sold in 1953, and construction began on the present synagogue building as 1970 Taylor Road in 1955.

Chibas (also spelled Chevra or Chevas) Jerusalem Congregation was first listed in the Cleveland City Directory of 1915, when it was located at East 39th Street and Central Avenue under the direction of Rabbi Judas Abrovitz. The congregation moved in 1919 to East 84th Street and Cedar Road, and again in 1926 to a site at 897 Parkwood Drive. In 1952 Chibas Jerusalem Congregation joined Oheb Zedek Congregation, forming the Taylor Road Synagogue

Shaaray Torah Congregation became associated with Taylor Road Synagogue in January 1955. Like Oheb Zedek Congregation, Shaaray Torah Congregation was founded by Eastern European immigrants. About 1897, the group held its first meeting at the home of Isaac Crystal at 2335 Orange Avenue. In 1912, when Jacob Rey Landry was rabbi, the congregation moved to a building at 2357 East 55th Street, where services were held until 1929. In that year, Shaaray Torah Congregation moved east again, to 776 East 105th Street, where it remained until its 175 members merged into the Taylor Road Synagogue in 1955. The congregation also maintained a burial ground in the Warrensville Cemetery at Richmond and Kinsman (now Chagrin) Roads.

click here to view the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History entry for Taylor Road Synagogue

Scope and Content

The Taylor Road Synagogue Records, 1919-1968 and undated, consist of general and financial records, including bound account books, ledgers, monthly and quarterly financial statements, invoices and receipts, deed, minutes and membership lists.

The Collection contains the financial and membership records of three Orthodox congregations - - Shaaray Torah, Chibas Jerusalem and Oheb Zedek -- which as a result of mergers now form part of the Taylor Road Synagogue; Oheb Zedek is the present congregational name. The records are divided into three sections by congregations.

The Shaaray Torah Congregation records, the oldest in the collection, date from 1919 to 1959 and consists primarily of financial records. These include ledgers and indexed account books in both English and Yiddish. The Chibas Jerusalem records, in English, consists of one membership ledger which is dated 1930-1932. The Taylor Road Synagogue (Oheb Zedek Congregation) records, dated from 1946- 1968, and also in English, contain monthly and quarterly financial statements, a general fund ledger and journal, invoices for paid bills, and receipts for dues and donations.

The materials in this collection shed light on the financial affairs and day-to-day activities of three Orthodox congregations which have been active in the Cleveland, Ohio Jewish community since the early 1900s. Detailed membership lists and early cemetery records may be of interest. Account books and financial statements suggest a wide range of congregational interests, including building and cemetery maintenance funds, the establishment of a nursery to promote religious education for Orthodox children, High Holiday celebrations, confirmation classes, and rabbi and cantor exchanges. Associate membership minutes, invoices and receipts reflect a variety of social activities and community projects, including membership picnics, theater parties, blood drives, fund-raising auctions and the presentation of films and speakers.

Statement of Arrangement

The collection is arranged by congregation and then by document type and then chronologically within each congregation. Invoices are arranged alphabetically by company name.

Restrictions on Access


Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


Jews -- Ohio -- Cleveland.
Orthodox Judaism -- Ohio -- Cleveland.
Synagogues -- Ohio -- Cleveland -- Organization and administration.
Taylor Road Synagogue (Cleveland, Ohio)

Preferred Citation

[Container ___, Folder___ ] MS 3765 Taylor Road Synagogue Records, Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, Ohio

Acquisition Information

Gift of the Taylor Road Synagogue in 1977.

Processing Information

Processed by Catherine K. Spencer in 1979.

Detailed Description of The Collection

Taylor Road Synagogue 1919-1961 1964-1968 undated

Box Folder
1 1 General account book 1919-1932
1 2 General account book 1932-1937
1 3 General account book 1937-1939
Box Folder
2 1 Membership/dues ledger. Abrams- Friedlander 1941-1955
2 2 Membership/dues ledger. Garber- Klein 1941-1955
2 3 Membership/dues ledger. Langer- Price 1941-1955
2 4 Membership/dues ledger. Reisner- Zeleznick 1941-1955
2 5 Miscellaneous account books (2), ca. 1942 1946
2 6 Building fund account book with records of High Holiday donations 1945-1947
2 7 Minutes book 1927-1932
2 8 Holiday seating record book 1951
Box Folder
3 1 Record book of burial lots sold undated
3 2 Record book of burial lots sold 1926-1959
3 3 Record book of burial lots sold 1939-1958
3 4 Deeds of sale, burial lots 1942-1957
3 5 Aliyias record book 1922-1928
3 6 Membership lists, financial records and notes removed from bound volumes undated
3 7 Taylor Road Synagogue (Oheb Zedek Congregation) monthly and quarterly financial statements 1946-1948
Box Folder
4 1 Monthly and quarterly financial statements 1949-1950
4 2 Monthly and quarterly financial statements 1950-1952
4 3 Minutes of meetings, Taylor Road Associate Membership 1952-1953
4 4 General fund ledger, contains information on building, perpetual upkeep and merger funds, investments, insurance, taxes, payroll, building and cemetery upkeep, and costs of religious supplies and rabbi and cantor exchanges 1953-1956
4 5 General fund accounts payable journal and ledger 1953-1955
4 6 General fund accounts payable ledger 1954-1957
4 7 Taylor Road Synagogue (Oheb Zedek Congregation); invoices for paid bill. Ace Chair Rental- Cleveland Trust Company 1954-1955
Box Folder
5 1 Invoices for paid bills. Cleveland Typewriter Company- Frank's Hebrew Book Store 1954-1955
5 2 Invoices for paid bills. G & S China Company - Midland Electric Company 1954-1955
5 3 Invoices for paid bills. Mrs. John Miller - Steinmeier Bronze Tablet Company 1954-1955
5 4 Invoices for paid bills. Sunlight Metal Products - Young Israel of Cleveland 1954-1955
5 5 Receipts for dues and donations 1958 1960
5 6 Receipts 1960-1961 1964
5 7 Receipts 1964-1965
Box Folder
6 1 Receipts 1965
6 2 Receipts 1966
6 3 Receipts 1966-1967
6 4 Receipts 1967-1968
6 5 Chibas Jerusalem ledger and membership record book, Able - Friedman 1930-1932
6 6 Ledger and membership record book, Gabelman - Mushkatel 1930-1932
6 7 Ledger and membership record book, Nass - Weinberg 1930-1932
Box Volume
7 1 Shaaray Torah Congregation; general financial record books 1939-1942
7 2 Shaaray Torah Congregation; general financial record books 1942-1944
7 3 Shaaray Torah Congregation; general financial record books 1950-1955
Box Volume
8 1 Shaaray Torah Congregation; income and expenditures account books 1938-1942
8 2 Shaaray Torah Congregation; income and expenditures account books 1942-1945
Box Volume
9 1 Shaaray Torah Congregation; income and expenditures account book 1945-1948