Our History


Initially called the Harford Hebrew Congregation, our synagogue was founded in February 1955. In November 1955, we purchased our first building from the American Legion at Forest Green and officially changed our name to the Harford Jewish Center. In March of 1957, we hired a rabbi for the weekends, and by October of the same year, we acquired our first Torahs and eternal light.

Our community prospered for years to come.  In 1966, we welcomed our first full-time Rabbi, Paul Kushner. Temple Adas Shalom (Congregation of Peace), was dedicated on September 15, 1968, as the first synagogue in Harford County history. Temple Adas Shalom is a living monument to the sacrifice and commitment of the members who worked so diligently to achieve the realization of a dream of many families.  These founding families worked so long and industriously to see the culmination of their dream of a Jewish center in Harford County finally come to fruition.

In 2019, Rabbi Gila Ruskin retired and we welcomed a new Rabbi to temple.  In October 2019 we began a new chapter at Temple Adas Shalom with Rabbi John Franken joining our community.  To learn more about our Rabbi, please visit the Rabbi page on our website.

In 2019 we completed an extensive renovation to expand our building to accommodate more classrooms, improved our HVAC system and lighting to employ a smarter energy efficiency plan, installed low e windows throughout the building and updated our sanctuary to be a light and airy place for worship.

Our religious, educational and social complex is situated on high ground at the intersection of Route 155 and Earlton Road, Extension in Havre de Grace, Maryland. It overlooks the serene countryside and is centrally located between Harford and Cecil Counties to serve the Jewish community throughout all of Northeast Maryland.

Temple Adas Shalom Timeline

February 7, 1955

February 7, 1955

A group of people met in the home of Mr. Louis Miller for the purpose of discussing the possibility of a building use for the community’s Hebrew population. From there an organized procedure was put in place and an organization was created.  The initial temple name that was adopted was Harford Hebrew Congregation. Following the adoption of a name, we held a nomination and our first group of officers were elected.

President: Morris Goldman
1st Vice President: Dave Cohen
2nd Vice President: Sidney Breitbart
3rd Vice President: David Schneck
Treasurer: Joe Silverstein
Secretary: Irv Lieberman

November 7, 1955

A special meeting was called to discuss building sites. Mr. Dave Cohen reported on the American Legion Building at Forest Green.  He reported on the condition and accessibility of the building and declared that he and the committee thought the building to be a suitable place for a community center.At the close of the meeting there was a motion to propose a written offer on the property and the motion passed.

December 16, 1955

We moved into our first building in Perryman, MD and Articles of Incorporation were established and signed by our residing board.  At this time, the decision to change the name to “The Harford Jewish Center, Inc” was made and became official. The purpose of the corporation was to provide facilities for Jewish worship, a Jewish education, and foster a cultural advancement for the local Jewish community.

January 1955 - July 1968

On August 13, 1956 renovations to the new building were complete and we began a journey through the next 13.5 years in our first building.  We celebrated Jewish life with B’nai Mitzvah, many Seders and High Holidays, a tribute dinner honoring Louis Miller and another honoring Rose Miller, the purchasing and dedication of three Torah scrolls, board installation Dinner and Dances, several Rabbis, and increasing membership.  When we acquired the building in 1955, we had 63 members and 14 potential members. At the end of 1965, our board grew and so did our membership and thus it was time to look at a new facility. A Place…to worship…and live with GOD. We remained in the Perryman building until construction on our new center was complete.

September 15, 1968

September 15, 1968

The new Harford Jewish Center was complete and dedication of the new building was to happen at 9:00 am.  Our Jewish membership grew to 300 members and we marked history as the first structure in Harford County to be specifically planned and built for the purpose of Jewish community.  On this day a motorcade carried the Torah scrolls from Perryman, MD to Havre de Grace, MD to their new home. At 9:45 am, the key to the building was presented to our then President, Larry Baer and services commenced at 10:00 am.  At 11:00 am the Torahs were placed in the ark and services were concluded.  We celebrated that night with cocktails and dinner then an installation of our new board.

Sepetmber 22, 1968

At sundown on September 22, 1968 we celebrated our first High Holiday in the building that would become our forever building. We celebrated in the Hebrew New Year of 5729 with Rosh Hashanah services at Temple Adas Shalom.

October 1968 - March 1978

Over the next 9.5 years we would see many Jewish holidays, fiestas, celebrity auctions, B’nai Mitzvah, Hadassah dances and fashion shows, a temple trip to Israel with Rabbi Weitz in 1972, the welcoming of Rabbi Kenneth Block, the purchase of 190 cemetery lots and a tribute dinner honoring Bea Sadowsky in October of 1976.

April 1978 - November 1978

In April of 1978 we broke ground on our new Sanctuary and celebrated the beginning of our newest addition to the building on Earlton Road, Extension. On November 4, 1978 we dedicated the Aaron Breitbart Sanctuary in memory of our beloved Cantor and founding member. Our then President, Harvey Yurow welcomed everyone to service and Sig Gast led us in our opening Hymn. We completed the service by affixing a Mezzuzah to the door and saying kiddish.  As part of this renovation, we added to our name and became, Temple Adas Shalom, the Harford Jewish Center. We erected a large sign on our lawn in a beautiful brick planter that prominently featured our new name to all that drove down Route 155.

December 1978 - June 1979

Over the next 1.5 years we would focus our attentions on Religious School with the legacy of Adolph Nord in mind.  On June 2, 1979 we dedicated the Religious School in memory of Adolph Nord and gave our program his namesake.  From this day on, our religious school with be known as the Adolph Nord Religious School.

November 15, 1980

On this day we would celebrate the milestone Twenty-fifth Anniversary of Temple Adas Shalom, the Harford Jewish Center. We would hold a Dinner and Dance to celebrate this momentous occasion.

December 1980 - August 1992

Over the next 11 years we would see many weddings in our sanctuary, 10 High Holidays and Jewish calendar years, current adult members would start and move through our Religious School program, the presentation of the City of Peace award to Bea Sadowsky, more B’nai Mitzvah then we can count on our hands and toes, and the construction of a new Religious School wing and Memorial Chapel.

Sepember 12, 1992

On Saturday, September 12, 1992 we dedicated the new wing of the Adolph Nord Religious school and Wallace H. Sadowsky Memorial Chapel to our existing building.  At that time we had 160 families and we knew that we had a responsibility to continue to enhance religious worship and education.  This addition added several new classrooms to the existing building and a beautiful Chapel.  We received an official Congratulatory Citation from delegate David R. Craig on this day of dedication.

October 1992 - March 2005

Over the next 12.5  years we would celebrate holidays over 11 Jewish calendar years, celebrate B’nai Mitzvah of a lot of our members children, celebrate Double Chai Honorees, a tribute dinner honoring Howard and Sandy Schapiro, the fight to reschedule a public rezoning meeting set for Erev Rosh Hashanah, converging calendars drawing 3 separate faiths into an 8 day celebration which only happens three times in a century,  the resignation of Rabbi Block, our first unity celebration for Martin Luther King Day, the naming of  Rabbi Robert Jacobs as our new Rabbi, our first annual Golf Tournament, A Portrait of Hope Surviving Breast Cancer benefit, Ravens booth fundraisers that raised a lot of money and football spirit, and a handful of baby namings.