At BHC, we believe that the synagogue can play many roles in one’s life. Over the course of their years as BHC members, our congregants find support, friendship, community, meaning, learning and much more. We take pride both in outreach to Baltimore’s Jewish community and in strengthening congregational connections of our current members. Together, we celebrate the Jewish holidays and Shabbat. Together, we learn about our history and consider our future. Together, we stand for social action and justice. Together, we are creating a progressive, dynamic and diverse congregation, filled with meaningful experiences and relationships.
We are a progressive community. With roots in traditional Reform Judaism, we seek innovative ways to explore our religious heritage, while celebrating our customs and rituals. Our Rosh Hashanah Under the Stars brings together more than 5,000 people to celebrate the Jewish New Year with a free community-wide, outdoor worship service. Our clergy and members work together to integrate Reform traditions into creative programs and services to celebrate holidays and learn about Judaism.
We are a dynamic community. Our members are active and involved in a variety of groups and activities. Social action and justice efforts engage our community in projects on hunger, health, equality and other challenges in Baltimore and beyond. Our schools take dynamic approaches to education, reaching beyond traditional learning. Chai Life, our 20s & 30s group, brings together young adults for engaging social gatherings.
We are a diverse community, welcoming people of all backgrounds. We welcome individuals, couples and families without regard to ethnicity, interfaith status, or sexual orientation. As a large congregation, BHC offers great opportunities for everyone, from preschoolers to teens to young adults to families to "empty nesters" and seniors. We continue to grow and welcome all who are interested in exploring the many facets of Reform Jewish life.
Baltimore Hebrew Congregation has provided generations of Jewish families a spiritual haven where members unite in enduring faith. As the first Jewish organization to be chartered by the State of Maryland and the first to build a synagogue, BHC continues to offer a religious environment in which every member, regardless of age or background, feels welcome to participate in Jewish life. Today, BHC is a thriving congregation situated on a 17-acre campus in the heart of the Jewish community, with a comprehensive Religious School and an ever-growing preschool.
Originally named Nidche Yisroel (Scattered of Israel), BHC was founded in 1830, and for the first fifteen years of its existence, services were held in a small room above a local grocery in Baltimore. Rabbi Abraham Rice was the first ordained rabbi to serve in the United States and came to BHC as our rabbi in 1840. In 1845, the Congregation moved to Lloyd Street under the new name, Baltimore Hebrew Congregation. That building, the Lloyd Street Synagogue, the third-oldest synagogue building in the United States, is now preserved as part of the Jewish Museum of Maryland. In 1891, BHC moved to Madison Avenue, where the Jewish community had begun to settle. The Congregation moved to its final home on Park Heights Avenue, on the border of Baltimore City and Baltimore County, following the Second World War in 1951.
For detailed historical highlights (1830-Present), click here.
"I found your kindness and sincerity at the Father's Day Memorial Service . . . very endearing. It makes me want to attend more services in the coming year. I hope that you continue with the Father's Day Memorial Services. Thank you for your kindness and outreach." – James M. Bonnett
“Religious School at BHC is now so engaging with active learning games, creative electives, and recess/social time. Our kids look forward to it instead of protesting going. Their Jewish identity has grown strong earlier than I expected, and we love being a part of the great community here at Baltimore Hebrew.” – Lauren Redmond
When our daughters were entering first grade and kindergarten, we began to think about their Jewish education. We are very happy with our decision to enroll our daughters in the BHC Youth Education program. Our daughters love it and can't wait to go to BHC every Sunday! The programming is creative and fun. The curriculum is also more streamlined across grade levels so that our children's Jewish education is consistent. Their teachers are kind and caring. They love the variety of their Sunday experience which includes arts and crafts, teva (nature), music, recess, lessons on the Jewish holidays and more. We look forward to a continued great experience! – Emanda Lenet
"I am writing to wholeheartedly thank everyone involved in streaming this morning's closing ceremony. I'm still in the hospital from having our son Asher on Wednesday and was devastated to miss the ceremony. When Darren told me this morning that the ceremony would be in the Sanctuary, I called to ask if it would be streamed. Imagine my delight to hear that it could be, even though it was after 10 AM at that point! I have felt at home at BHC since first touring the preschool, and this has made me love the shul even more. Thank you SO much for making it possible for me to be part of this special day." - Alex Mareiniss
"Thank you from the bottom of my heart for a beautiful concert for our children. From the minute we walked in the door my heart was full. Being met by calm and caring faces who understood our children and then handed them a stuffed animal was huge. We sat down and I opened the program and started to cry when I read the words in big letters at the top, 'All behaviors welcome here... ENJOY!'... Please do keep up the good work and let the Peggy and Yale Gordon Trust know how crucial this type of event is for a family. It was a place where we could be ourselves... I thank you, each and every one of you, for your goodness, compassion and commitment to all children." -Rebecca Weiss
Union for Reform Judaism
BHC has been a member of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) since 1892. The URJ is a dynamic network of Reform Jewish congregations, lay leaders, clergy and professionals, which represent the largest and fastest growing constituency of Jews in North America. Their progressive, inclusive approach unites thousands of years of Jewish tradition and values with modern Jewish experience to strengthen Judaism today and for future generations. Through programs, consultations, resources, and networking opportunities, the URJ helps strengthen our nearly 900 member congregations, welcome spiritual seekers through audacious hospitality, engage Jewish youth, deepen Jewish learning, energize worship, pursue tikkun olam (social justice), connect with Israel, and develop inspired leadership. INFO: urj.org.
Baltimore Jewish Council
The mission of the Baltimore Jewish Council is to foster cooperation and understanding within the Jewish community; build relationships and mutual understanding with ethnic, racial, and religious groups across Maryland; advocate at all levels of government for social justice and public resources on issues of concern to the Jewish community; and through education and action, promote strong support for Israel and the Jewish people at home and throughout the world. INFO: baltjc.org.
In partnership with faith-based and community organizations, Govans Ecumenical Development Corporation (GEDCO) provides affordable housing, supportive services, and emergency assistance to community residents. INFO: gedco.org.