The Albert and Pauline Dubin Oral History Archives

This collection includes stories from influential leaders, philanthropists, and those who have helped to shape the Detroit Jewish community.


Sharon Alterman

In this interview, Sharon Alterman mentions her early childhood.  She speaks about her parents, growing up in a four family flat with her grandparents and aunt in adjoining apartments.   She grew up in a very diverse neighborhood.  Describing herself as a “joiner,” Alterman talks about her involvement with the youth group at B’nai David Synagogue, and from there, how she got involved with Habonim.  She mentions her time at Camp Farband during this time, as well.

Robert Aronson, Part I

In this oral history interview, Robert Aronson talks about his upbringing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and his family. While he didn’t have a very religious upbringing, he talks about being involved with Temple Youth Group, and Habonim and eventually becoming president of Temple Shalom Youth Group.  He speaks about organizing a moratorium during the Vietnam War at his high school.

Robert Aronson Part II

In this oral history interview, Robert Aronson expands on the projects he has been involved in over the years in the Jewish community.  He speaks about his memories from the time of the Yom Kippur War.  He discusses immigration issues in Israel and how Detroit is involved.

Nora Barron

In this oral history interview, Nora Barron talks about her grandparents and parents. She briefly speaks about her maternal grandparents' immigration to Canada and then to the United States. She mentions her childhood growing up in the Rainer Apartments, very close to her grandparents. Barron says that her involvement with philanthropy and the Jewish community has always been a part of her life. Her first memories are of her mother and aunt working on programming for Shaarey Zedek and United Hebrew Schools, soliciting door-to-door with her mother for Allied Jewish Campaign, and attending meetings. She mentions that her father was a land developer and found land that eventually become Camp Tamarack.

Robert Benyas

In this interview, photographer Robert Benyas discusses his long professional career as a photographer of the Jewish community.  He mentions that without formal training, he was under the tutelage of many photographers working for the Detroit News or Free Press.

Rabbi Aaron Bergman

In this interview, Rabbi Bergman relates his experiences growing up as a child in Oak Park and his education in public schools.  He explains his father’s family’s experiences during the Holocaust in concentration camps Auschwitz and Plaszow, to when he eventually came to America in 1947.  In the Air Force, he was stationed in Germany during the Korean War.  The Rabbi talks about how different his mother’s experiences were as a first-generation American growing up in Detroit.

Michael Berke

In this interview, Michael Berke speaks about his childhood growing up as a lifelong Detroiter. Berke talks about his years spent as a special education teacher and then his move into working for the Jewish community as the executive director of Hillel Day School and at the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit.

Mandell “Bill” Berman

In this interview, Mandell “Bill” Berman speaks about his education.  He mentions attending United Hebrew Schools, Central High School, Arizona, Michigan, and Harvard.  He briefly mentions his experience as a Jewish student at Harvard Business School.  From here, Berman speaks about becoming a naval officer after D-Day, and then after returning, starting the Junior Division of the Jewish Federation, being instrumental in the building of Shaarey Zedek, and raising money and supplies for displaced persons for the Joint Distribution Committee.

Vivian Berry

In this interview, Vivian Berry speaks about her grandparents’ immigration to Windsor and their involvement in the Jewish community in Windsor, Ontario. She mentions that her grandmother had started Hadassah in Windsor and held the first meeting in her home.

Douglas Bloom

In this interview, Douglas Bloom speaks of his early childhood in Detroit as part of a multi-generational home in a neighborhood that did not have many Jewish families.  He talks about his educational background, his religious education, and relates a few memories about downtown Detroit, and his summers at Camp Hiawatha and Cranbrook.


This collection is generously supported by the Albert and Pauline Dubin Oral History Archive fund.

Usage Rules

The Archive prohibits use of the oral history interviews in any way that infringes on individual right to privacy or results in libelous statements or slander, in accordance with U.S. law.

Copyright to the recorded interview(s) and/or subsequent transcript(s) of such remains with the Leonard N. Simons Jewish Community Archives. Please use the following citation format:

© Leonard N. Simons Jewish Community Archives. [Name of Subject] Oral History Interview, [Date of Interview].