The history of Our synagogue

Ahavath Sholom's historic building on North Street in Great Barrington is the oldest continually utilized synagogue structure in Berkshire County. A group of local Jewish families began worshiping together in the early 1920s and in 1923 purchased the building that is still the home of the congregation.

"Love of Peace" Congregation was officially chartered by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1926. Twenty years later, the synagogue changed its name to Congregation Ahavath Sholom, the Hebrew translation for Love of Peace. Rabbi Jacob Axelrod became spiritual leader of the congregation and the Jewish community's shochet (kosher butcher) that same year. He lived, worked and raised his family in buildings that once stood next to the shul. Rabbi Axelrod devoted himself to his Orthodox congregation and his community for sixty years.



Our historic building


In the late 1980s, Ahavath Sholom began a new life serving a changing Berkshire community and in 1995, the congregation became affiliated with the Jewish Reconstructionist movement.  It is currently one of more than 100 congregations and havurot in what is now called The Jewish Reconstructionist Movement.  These Reconstructionist Communities are committed to Judaism's roots in tradition, to egalitarianism and inclusion, and to helping Jewish communities flourish.  Congregation Ahavath Sholom is also an affiliate of the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires and participates with other synagogues and the Federation in many county-wide services and programs.

Our beautiful torah crown

The mission of Congregation Ahavath Sholom is to support a participatory, egalitarian, and inclusive Reconstructionist Jewish community. While recognizing the dynamic and evolving nature of Judaism in modern life, we engage with our traditions to inspire our ethical and spiritual growth. We encourage study, prayer, and celebration, education of children, and acts of caring and social justice.

Congregation Ahavath Sholom    15 North Street     PO Box 464


Great Barrington, MA 01230