Jewish Community Archives

About the Archives

The mission of the Leonard N. Simons Jewish Community Archives is to collect, preserve and make available for research the records of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, United Jewish Foundation, Federation’s member agencies and local community organizations. We also collect personal and family papers.

It is a vast repository that includes photographs, manuscripts, videos, oral histories, artifacts, biographical information, as well as a cemetery index.

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About Us

Established in 1991, the Leonard N. Simons Jewish Community Archives document the rich and varied history of the Detroit Jewish community.

The Archives are housed in two locations: The Max M. Fisher Jewish Federation Building and the Walter P. Reuther Library of Labor and Urban Affairs.

The Walter P. Reuther Library of Labor and Urban Affairs is located on the campus of Wayne State University. It is the pre-eminent labor archive in North America. The collection also includes urban affairs, with emphasis on the history of metropolitan Detroit. The library houses more than 1,800 individual collections of business, civic and political leaders.

In 1991, the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit placed the bulk of its archival holdings in the Reuther Library. The collection dates back to the beginning of the United Jewish charities in 1899. Through the years, the Jewish Community Archives at the Reuther Library has expanded to include more than two million documents chronicling the growth and development of the Federation and its member agencies and Jewish communal agencies.

Click here to visit the Jewish Community Archives Collection at the Walter P. Reuther Library of Labor and Urban Affairs.

The photograph collection, as well as several manuscript collections, remain housed at the Max M. Fisher Jewish Federation Building.

As a service to the community, we provide a searchable cemetery index (link) that contains a listing of burials in Michigan Jewish cemeteries that span the 20th century. Our focus, however, is not on genealogical research. We strongly encourage individuals to contact the Jewish Genealogical Society for questions pertaining to genealogy.

We Pay Tribute To Leonard N. Simons

The Jewish Community Archives was named in honor of Leonard N. Simons in 1995 to commemorate his commitment to preserving Jewish Detroit’s historic legacy. Co-Founder of Simons, Michelson Zieve Advertising Agency, Simons combined his career in advertising with an equally rich career as a community activist and advocate for countless community institutions.

In the words of Dr. Jacob Marcus, Director of American Jewish Archives at Hebrew Union College, “What would Detroit, American Jewry, have done without Leonard? Behold the indispensable man. Can you imagine writing the philanthropic history of Detroit without putting him in the center of things? The Greek word for philanthropy means love of fellowman and in the literal sense he has loved his fellowman, working for them without regard to color, creed or race.”

Give a Gift

You can play a part in maintaining and preserving our valuable historical resources with a gift to the Leonard N. Simons Jewish Community Archives of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit. Click here to donate.

The Leonard N. Simons Jewish Community Archives is located at:

Max M. Fisher Federation Building
6735 Telegraph Road
Suite 310
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48301

Phone: (248) 203-1491

Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.; Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Contact Us online

Please schedule an appointment before visiting to ensure availability of the collections and a staff person to assist you.

If you would like to view a collection housed at the Reuther Library, please contact their reference archivist to schedule an appointment.

The Walter P. Reuther Library of Labor and Urban Affairs
5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202

Phone: (313) 577-4024

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

jbaby detroit! 5-week prenatal birthing class

Learn about labor, delivery, birthing techniques and newborn care — with a Jewish TWIST. The five week series is designed to help prepare expectant couples for labor and delivery and for life as new parents. It also serves as a great way for Jewish couples to meet each other before they have their babies. $136 includes all classes and materials.

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Detroit Ride for the Living

Sunday, June 25th, 2017 | 8:30 AM The Krakow JCC’s Annual Ride for the Living is a 55 mile bike ride from Auschwitz to JCC Krakow that commemorates Jewish history and celebrates the miraculous rebirth of Jewish life in Poland today. This year, NEXTGen Detroit and Israel & the Overseas Department  are pedaling in solidarity […]

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Jewish Working Women’s Network: Pure Networking

Join the Jewish Working Women’s Network for Pure Networking Tuesday, June 27 | 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm The Maple Kitchen and Bar 4135 Maple Road, Bloomfield Hills Drop in to meet and greet other Jewish working women for a casual networking opportunity. No agenda, no registration, no stress! Just show up! Questions? Contact Marianne […]

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Good Shabbos Detroit! JFamily Edition

Federation’s JFamily and NEXTGen Detroit are partnering with Congregation Shaarey Zedek for a joyful Tot Shabbat* to bring our community together for a unique Shabbat experience for families! *A Friday night Shabbat experience for families with children 0-6+ years old Join us for a family-friendly interactive service provided by CSZ, celebrating a kickoff to summer! […]

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