Detroit Jems Mark 100th Anniversary of Establisement of Organized Community
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Detroit Jems Mark 100th Anniversary of Establisement of Organized Community

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The 100th anniversary of the establishment of an organized Jewish community in Detroit will be marked by the Jews here this year, the Jewish News of Detroit, reported. The first “minyan” of ten males over the age of 13 was achieved in 1850, although historical documents record the existence of Jews in the Detroit region as early as 1763, when two Jewish traders were captured by Indians on the warpath.

In the first city directory published in Detroit, no name which can be recognized with certainty as Jewish is listed. This directory was published in 1837 and listed 1,100 persons. The second, which appeared in 1845, named two, while the 1850 listing carried three Jewish-owned firms and five other individuals.

The first organized religious services were held in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Cozens early in 1850 and until September 22, 1850, when the Beth El Society was organized and Michigan’s first congregation, Temple Both El, was formed. In 1861, because of the Reform tendencies within Beth El, a section of the congregation withdrew and formed the Congregation Sharrey Zedek, today one of America’s leading Conservative synagogues.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund