Oseh Shalom was founded as the Jewish Congregation of Laurel on May 24, 1966, by 16 families expressing their commitment to a cohesive Jewish presence in Laurel. Quality programs were provided from the beginning, thanks to the dedicated efforts of energetic and talented members working together with part-time paid professionals. Services were first held at a local bank and then in our interim home in the Montpelier community of South Laurel. The growth of the greater Laurel community enabled us to build a small, versatile synagogue/Religious School in 1973 at 13714 Briarwood Drive. In August 1973, members chose the Hebrew name Oseh Shalom, “Doers of Peace.”
The Congregation affiliated with the Reconstructionist Movement in 1979. In 1980, we had grown enough to hire a full-time rabbi. Following an extensive search, we hired an outstanding leader, Rabbi Gary S. Fink. In 2006, Rabbi Doug Heifetz took over and Rabbi Fink continued on as Rabbi Emeritus. Rabbi Heifetz turned over the pulpit to our current Rabbis Daria and Josh Jacobs-Velde in 2017.
Having outgrown our “one-room shulhouse,” in 1983, we decided to build a larger facility in a more central location. Our new synagogue opened in time for the 1991 High Holy Days. Today our members live in Columbia, Ellicott City, Savage, Jessup, Clarksville, Fulton, Olney, Silver Spring, Burtonsville, Kensington, Wheaton, Kemp Mill, Arnold, Annapolis, College Park, Hyattsville and beyond.
Parents who are searching for a Hebrew School or Jewish School for their children find a warm, engaging and inclusive environment at Oseh Shalom Religious School for all children, whether gifted or challenged with special needs. LGBTQ members are very welcome as are Jews of all colors and Jews by choice. About a third of our members are Interfaith.