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Our History

Suburban Orthodox Toras Chaim has celebrated over a half-century as an active and vibrant congregation within the Baltimore Jewish Community. Our shul has been blessed with several wonderful spiritual leaders, Rabbi Chaim Gevantman z"l, served from 1957 until his retirement in 1976, Rabbi Ervin Preis z"l, served from 1976 until his passing in 2002 and our current Rabbi, Rabbi Shmuel Silber came to our shul in 2003.

With the exception of the first six-months since incorporation, SOTC has continuously occupied the same location at 7504 Seven Mile Lane. While the address has remained the same, the building has changed significantly over time. The original single-story structure remains, yet was literally raised (not razed) onto stilts and a new first floor added underneath the original building. This addition provided capacity for the classrooms now utilized by our youth groups. To facilitate meaningful davening (prayer services), shiurim (classes), social functions and catered events, our sanctuary and social hall have also received many modifications and upgrades throughout the years.

Our Shul's fifty-plus-years have been enriched by the tireless efforts of many people.

Some Notable Events from our History

October 2, 1956 — For the first time in all of recorded Jewish history, Thirty-two men and women agree… The agreement is on the need for "the formulation of a new orthodox synagogue…"

March 12, 1957 — First board nominated and elected

April 8, 1957 — Incorporation of Suburban Orthodox Synagogue

May 1, 1957 — First Annual Donor Banquet

July 2, 1957 — Rabbi Chaim Gevantman, visiting from his pulpit in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, discussed his interest in and availability for the position of spiritual leader of Suburban Orthodox Synagogue. Rabbi Gevantman's offer included 'one year without compensation. (Quoted from History of Suburban Orthodox Congregation, 1957-1962 by Harold M. Helfman.)

August 1957 — Rabbi Gevantman assumes position as spiritual leader

September 15, 1957 — Dedication of building at current location, 7504 Seven Mile Lane

January, 1960 — Organization of Suburban Orthodox Brotherhood

August 26, 1962 — Cornerstone laid for new building at current location

Chanukah 1962 — Formal dedication of new synagogue

January, 1976 — Due to ill health, Rabbi Chaim Gevantman retires after eighteen years of devoted service to Suburban Orthodox Congregation

Weekends of May 1& 29, 1976 — Rabbi Ervin Preis officiates services as visiting Rabbi

June 9, 1976 — A letter is mailed to the membership indicating the recommendation by the Rabbinic Selection Committee of Rabbi Eliot Feldman as the next Rabbi of Suburban Orthodox Congregation. "However," the letter reads, "the Board also decided that Rabbi Ervin Preis be brought back for a second visitation and that he too be considered for the position."

June 16, 1976 — After reviewing 38 resumes and visitations by 9 candidates, Suburban Orthodox Congregation votes unanimously for Rabbi Ervin Preis as spiritual leader.

May 8, 1982 — Passing of Rabbi Emeritus Chaim Gevantman. Subsequently, by unanimous vote, Suburban Orthodox Congregation changes its name to Suburban Orthodox Congregation Toras Chaim.

Lag B'Omer, May 11, 1982 — Originally scheduled date for 25th Anniversary Banquet. The banquet was postponed due to the passing of Rabbi Gevantman.

June 2, 1982 — Rescheduled date of 25th Anniversary Banquet

June 2-3, 1984 — Dedication Weekend of "new" renovations

2003 - Rabbi Shmuel Silber is hired

March 30, 2008 — 50th Anniversary Banquet honoring Rabbi Shmuel and Aviva Silber

2015 - Suburban Orthodox embarks on a capital campaign 

Summer 2018 - adjacent properties owned by Suburban Orthodox are demolished in anticipation of the building project

Recent Banquet Honorees:

2010: Mel & Judy Pachino

2011: Neil & Pam Weissman, Motti & Chana Margalit, Leo Berenholz

2013: Sonia Diamond, Derek & Lauren Fine, Matt & Susie Schoenfeld

2014: Chaim & Jackie Nachman, Mel & Judy Pachino

2015: Selma Woolf, Jon & Jen Kaplan, Simon & Tara Cornberg

2016: Brian & Karyn Gold, Moishe & Chavi Abramson, "Uncle" Mike Holzman

2017: Milton & Eleanor Marder, Doniel & Tzippi Goetz

2018: Shirley Elbaum, Meir & Sarah Raskas, Dovi & Atara Ziffer

2019: Mrs. Rosalee Sklar, Saeed & Sima Haken, Yanky & Naami Schorr

2020: Leah Esther Sol, Shimmy & Batsheva Messing, Josh & Jen Erez

Sat, June 22 2024 16 Sivan 5784