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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Join us for the jbabydetroit! Jewish Preschool Panel

Thursday, March 30 | 7:00 PM Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit 6735 Telegraph Rd. • Bloomfield Hills, MI 48301 Learn about each school’s philosophy curriculum hours, before/after care options enrollment dates special needs assistance … and more! Each family that attends the 2017 jbabydetroit! Preschool Panel will receive one $50 certificate good toward Jewish Preschool […]

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SPARC Invites You To Cooking With Kelly

Cooking Demo & Tasting with Kelly Rogers Victor Thursday, March 30 | 7-9 pm at the home of Dona Stillman Learn how to prepare a healthy, delicious dinner. Take home a side dish to serve on Shabbat. Kosher Style | Parve | $10. Registration is limited. KELLY ROGERS VICTOR is a writer, health coach and […]

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A Kosher for Passover Night Out with NEXTGen Detroit

NEXTGen Detroit is hitting the town with a night of great food, fine wine and side-splitting entertainment… and it’s all Kosher for Passover. Join us at Go Comedy! in Ferndale for a unique improv show that’s taking on the story of Passover in a hysterical way that will put your Bubbe’s seder to shame. You […]

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