The Rabbi Schwab Era
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With the arrival of Rabbi Bernard Schwab in 1962, Ohavay Zion had a Rabbi who demonstrated a long-term commitment to the congregation. During his 23 years of service, the congregation assumed a more Orthodox nature in keeping with his personal practices. Teaching young children was Rabbi Schwab’s main focus during his tenure and he devoted an enormous amount of energy toward this end. Rabbi Schwab’s success with his Bar/Bat Mitzvah training was becoming a legend in the area. Having a Rabbi for more than a few years added stability to Ohavay Zion that we had not known before.
In 1962 plans were made to build a classroom/office/library/lobby addition to our Synagogue. Shelly Derer was the chairman of this effort. He was joined by Leon Cooper, President, Julian Bloomfield and Sig Benjamin. Jimmy Frankel was the architect but it was Mrs. Sam Godhelf who, with her daily inspections, saw to it that the construction was done properly. The building was dedicated in 1964, our 50th anniversary on Maxwell Street. Now, for a while, we had enough room for our Nursery School, Hebrew School, and Sunday School. The Rosenberg wall on Maxwell Street, which had to be torn down for the addition, was re-erected on Upper Street to enclose a beautiful garden area. The two lots behind the Synagogue were purchased earlier for parking, so now it was possible to park in our lot and enter the Shul through the garden.
Rabbi Schwab died in 1985 after a long and debilitating illness. Shortly before he died, Rabbi Schwab was made Rabbi Emeritus. The congregation – especially by the children, who knew no other Rabbi, sorely missed him.