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. Those brave original members wanted a community that welcomed the stranger and offered a chance to explore and express their Judaism. Services were first held at a local bank and then 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, Gary S. Fink. In 2006, Rabbi Fink decided he wanted to work full time with seniors but continues as an active congregant and teacher at Oseh. Rabbi Doug Heifetz took over and served with dedication for 10 years before turning 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 Oseh 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.
Our members range from singles and young families to retirees and super seniors. Everyone has a place to call their Jewish home. Parents who are searching for a Hebrew School for their children find a warm, engaging and inclusive environment 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 families.