Where We Pray: 700 families strong, Adath Israel Congregation 'extends hospitality to all'

CINCINNATI - The Tri-State is rich in the number and variety of houses of worship. In this new weekly feature, WCPO will spotlight where we pray.

Adath Israel Congregation

Address: 3201 E. Galbraith Rd., Cincinnati
Denomination: Jewish
Top Clergy: Rabbi Irvin M. Wise
Size of Congregation: 700 Families
Affiliation: United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
Core Beliefs: Adath Israel Congregation subscribes to 18 core values , from believing in and loving God, to pursuing peace at all times in all ways.


Adath Israel Congregation , a kehillah  kedoshah --or Conservative Jewish--community, was founded in 1847 as the Polish Synagogue. It is the oldest traditional synagogue in Cincinnati, and one of the oldest Conservative congregations in the United States.

The congregation’s first location was on Lodge Alley, between Fifth and Sixth Streets, and has relocated many times since. First, it moved to the Hibben Building at the corner of Seventh and Walnut. In 1896, Adath Israel acquired its own building in at Ninth and Cutter Streets and moved to Rockdale Avenue in 1917, when Rabbi Louis Feinberg became the congregation’s new leader.

After a move to Lexington and Reading in 1927, the Leshner Library of Jewish books was established.  Membership was growing, and programs were multiplying, so in 1945 Rabbi Fishel J. Goldfeder was invited to become an Associate Rabbi, to work with Rabbi Feinberg. Upon Rabbi Feinberg’s death in 1949, Rabbi Goldfeder became the congregation’s leader.

In 1967, with the shift of the Jewish population northward, the synagogue moved to Amberley, with the Isaac. N. Jarson Education Center opening in 1972.  In 1982, when Rabbi Goldfeder retired, Rabbi Sidney Zimmelman replaced him.

Adath Israel's current rabbi, Irvin M. Wise, began serving the congregation in 1992.

Rabbi Wise says:

“Our rabbis taught that true hospitality is when a person’s very presence is welcomed and a person simply being present is valued. So does Adath Israel Congregation endeavor to extend hospitality to all.  We are all-inclusive, participatory and egalitarian in all aspects of synagogue life, including governance and prayers, and we welcome singles, couples, families and people of all generations, backgrounds, and life-styles.”

Community activities

Adath Israel's major fundraiser is a gala held each spring. In addition to raising funds, it provides an opportunity for congregants and friends to get together in a social setting. 

In addition to religious school education for Pre-K through 12th grade, Adath Israel also offers adult education classes. The congregation's auxiliaries, Sisterhood, Brotherhood, and 50-Plus groups also offer programming.  

Other charitable and community initiatives include:

  • hosting the Interfaith Hospitality Network three weeks every year
  • sponsoring a day of community service, which includes a blood drive
  • preparing and serving meals at a soup kitchen in Over-the-Rhine
  • organizing and sponsoring a holiday party for the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless;
  • helping out and visiting residents of Cedar Village nursing home and the Center for Respite Care
  • tutoring students at the Oyler School and Pleasant Ridge Montessori   

Daily Minyan & Shabbat Services

Editor's Note: We are publishing "Where We Pray" in the order that we receive responses to our interview requests. Feel free to contact us if you would like your house or worship to be included! Email: holly.edgell@wcpo.com

Print this article Back to Top