Imagine life in Detroit without a synagogue. The year was 1851, when Sarah and Isaac Cozens opened the doors of their own small home in at St. Antoine and Congress streets downtown to host the city’s first minyan – marking the very beginnings of an Orthodox Congregation Beth El. By 1920, Jewish Detroit was well rooted, with three broad categories of Jewish places of worship in the city: the small Orthodox synagogues, the large Conservative Shaarey Zedek and the Reform Congregation Beth El. In 1940, a publication of the Michigan Synagogue Conference listed 53 congregations founded in the Detroit area before 1928, of which about 40 were still active.
They were grand in their day. How many do you remember?
The year was 1903. Temple Beth El on Woodward
Jewish Detroit’s first neighborhoods were concentrated downtown on the lower Eastside. All the synagogues of that era are gone. When the Beth El Society moved, it hired famed Detroit Architect Albert Kahn to design its new 1903 synagogue on Woodward just north of the then booming downtown.
The year was 1919. First Hungarian Hebrew Congregation
The year was 1922. Congregation Beth David (predecessor for B’nai David)
The year was 1956. Inside the Sanctuary, Adat Shalom Synagogue
The year was 1961. This was Temple Israel
The year was 1962. Congregation Shaarey Zedek on the move