History & Mission
Chizuk Amuno Congregation was founded in Baltimore on April 1, 1871. Twenty-three devoted individuals envisioned that their fledgling new congregation would perpetuate traditional Judaism by strengthening the faith and nurturing the religious development of its members through adherence to Judaism's central ideals of Torah (learning), Avodah (worship), and Gemilut Hasadim (acts of loving kindness).
On August 18, 1876, Rev. Dr. Henry W. Schneeberger officiated at the dedication of the Congregation’s first permanent synagogue, located on Lloyd Street. Schneeberger, the first American-born, ordained rabbi to serve in the United States, was hired to open a daily religious school for children, deliver sermons on Shabbat and festivals, and conduct adult learning sessions. The Congregation soon outgrew the Lloyd Street building and then a larger facility on McCulloh Street. Rabbi Adolph Coblenz assumed spiritual leadership in 1920 as Chizuk Amuno moved into its new synagogue on Eutaw Place. With Rabbi Coblenz’s support and guidance from Talmudic scholars, in December 1947, congregants voted to adopt mixed seating. Chizuk Amuno is a founding member of the Conservative movement, the Jewish Theological Seminary, and United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.
In 1948, Rabbi Israel M. Goldman succeeded the ailing Rabbi Coblenz and established Chizuk Amuno’s first Adult Jewish Institute, Laymen’s Weekend Retreat, and Interfaith Service. Planning a suburban campus large enough to house a Social Center, School Building, and Sanctuary, in 1953 the Congregation purchased a plot of undeveloped land on Stevenson Road in Baltimore County. By 1968, Chizuk Amuno had transitioned all Congregational activities to its current 30-acre complex.
Rabbi Joel H. Zaiman began his tenure at Chizuk Amuno in 1980. Determined to intensify learning opportunities for both children and adults, Rabbi Zaiman expanded adult education programming and initiated the Board’s decision to open a day school in 1981. Following Rabbi Zaiman’s retirement, Rabbi Ronald J. Shulman was elected spiritual leader of Chizuk Amuno in 2004, eager to share his vision for the future of this historic congregation.
Each rabbi's tenure has been marked by congregational accomplishments in education, communal service, support for the land of Israel, and significant contributions to the Jewish community in Baltimore and around the world. Chizuk Amuno Congregation has made, and continues to make, its mark on the history of American Jewry.
Chizuk Amuno has a long history of proud service to Baltimore's Jewish community. Dedicated to strengthening faith in our people’s covenant with God, the purpose of Chizuk Amuno Congregation is to create a sacred Jewish community. Here individuals and families can find meaning for their lives from serious engagement with the texts, wisdom, and celebrations of Judaism. Chizuk Amuno is dedicated to perpetuating and affirming Judaism by strengthening the faith and nurturing the religious development of its members. In pursuit of this mission, Chizuk Amuno, guided by its rabbinic and educational staff, and lay leaders, ascribes to the rabbinic teaching: "The world is sustained through Torah, worship and acts of loving kindness."