The initial plans of present day East Pittsburgh, Pa., were laid out in the final decades of the 19th century. A town emerged after the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Co. built a plant in 1894 and the Pennsylvania Railroad established a station in the area. The East Pittsburgh borough was incorporated in April 1895 and grew over the following decades.
The Westinghouse plant employed many Jewish workers, according to historian Jacob Feldman. These Jewish workers initially commuted to the area from McKeesport, Pa., and Braddock, Pa. By the early years of the 20th century, several Jewish families had settled in East Pittsburgh. They chartered Ohab Zedeck either in 1904, according to Feldman, or in 1910, according to a Works Progress Administration Church Archives survey. The congregation rented space in Miller’s Hall at 206 Electric Avenue before building a $20,000 synagogue at 305 Electric Avenue in 1910. The same year, the congregation purchased a one-acre cemetery plot on Churchill Road, according to the Works Progress Administration survey. By 1911, Ohab Zedeck was operating a religious school under the auspices of the Southwestern District of Pennsylvania Jewish Religious School program.
Before Ohab Zedeck built its synagogue, the congregation relied on laity to lead services. Among these lay leaders were Benjamin Biederman, Jacob Solomon, Bernard Harstein and Herman Klein, according to the Works Progress Administration survey. The congregation was led by Rabbi Nathan Silberman 1910 to 1912, Rev. A. Hollander as of 1914, Rabbi Joshua Weiss as of 1931 and Rabbi Myer Friedman of 1937. Some of the families who were members of Congregation Ohab Zedeck include Blaufeld, Chetlin, Cirota, Fine, Ginsberg, Gluc, Goldhammer, Goodman, Honig, Jaffe, Kessler, Moskowitz, Perlman, Rosenfeld, Ronin, Shapiro, Shindler, Slessinger, Stern, Weiss and Whitman, according to a local history volume. Dr. Samuel Cirota worked at East Pittsburgh High School for twenty-five year years, including ten as its principal.
The total population of East Pittsburgh grew through 1920 and has been declining since 1930. The Jewish population followed a different trend. The American Jewish Yearbook listed a population of 500 in its 1928-1929 edition and 640 in its 1940-1941 edition. The yearbook also listed a population of 660 in its 1951 edition but a footnote in the survey suggests that the figure is merely a revision of the figure in the edition from 1940-1941.
By the time the East Pittsburgh borough celebrated its Diamond Jubilee in 1970, Congregation Ohab Zedeck appears to have sold its synagogue and dissolved.