December 16, 2014
One of the only two synagogues to escape the Great Chicago Fire celebrates its 150th anniversary this year.
Oak Park Temple B’nai Abraham Zion is the second oldest Reform Jewish congregation in Chicago and has about 2,000 people.
“Our 150th anniversary celebration is a celebration of who we are, a recognition of where we’ve been and a chance to dream of who we want to be,” Rabbi Max Weiss said.
Oak Park Temple began as Zion congregation in 1864. The first service was held in a rented Baptist church. With the city’s growing Jewish population, Zion merged with the B’nai Abraham congregation in 1919, moving into a new building – Washington Boulevard Temple. Harold and Charlotte Stein first met there 75 years ago.
“I saw my husband, who I didn’t know was going to be my husband, when I was five years old,” Charlotte Stein said.