– Shtetl in the City –
Detroit’s organized Jewish community dates back to 1850 when 51 Jews settled here. Between 1880 and 1920, the Detroit Jewish population exploded to 35,000 as Eastern European Jews fled harsh anti-Semitic laws. Detroit offered opportunities in commerce, education, and housing that appealed to newly-arrived immigrants. Most came with few possessions, leading to the establishment of aid societies and organizations to assist those in need. Blending “old world” ways with their new American lifestyle, the Jewish immigrants found a place to call home. This panel will explore the arrival and settlement of Jews from 1880-1920.
– Neighborhoods –
From the Hastings Street “ghetto” to the suburban “American Dream,” the Jewish population has defined themselves by where they live. With each migration north, businesses, synagogues, and schools followed, changing that community’s landscape. This panel will explore the different areas Jews called home.
– Lending a Hand –
With a flood of Eastern European Jews arriving in Detroit during the Great Migration, the need for aid societies grew. Organizations abounded to help immigrants survive, thrive, and Americanize. This panel will discuss the influx of these organizations, how it led to the service organizations that still exist today.
– Connecting with Israel –
Detroit has longed played an active role in the establishment and support of Israel. This panel looks at fundraising efforts pre-1948, and the missions and programs aimed at building not only a strong Israel, but a strong relationship with the Detroit Jewish community.
– Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit –
In 1899, Rabbi Leo M. Franklin started the United Jewish Charities to centralize fundraising and services. Over 100 years later, this organization still thrives as the center of Jewish life in Detroit. This panel looks at the history of JFMD, and how it has helped build a vibrant Jewish life in Detroit, Israel, and beyond.