Robert Aronson Part II

Interviewed by Charlotte Dubin

November 10, 2005

Max M. Fisher Federation Building, Bloomfield Hills, MI

Robert Aronson Part II
Video 00:34:02


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.

Aronson explains what Partnership 2000 is and how it is a program that evolved out of Project Renewal.  He mentions immigrant children experiencing Camp Tamarack as a proud moment he was able to be a part of.

Aronson talks about the next General Assembly of North American Jewry and talks about the things hoped to be addressed.  He then speaks about the challenges in both the Jewish Home for the Aged as well as the closing of Sinai Hospital.  He also mentions the challenges of the Jewish Community Center buildings over the years, and he also talks about the creation of the Jewish Fund.

From here, Aronson talk about the goals of the next population study and speaks a little bit about the Neighborhood Project that stemmed from the last one.  He discusses his vision for the community.

History of Narrator

Robert Aronson was born on October 9, 1951 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He attended Carnegie Mellon University, University of Wisconsin at Madison, and then the Art Institute of Chicago, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in print-making. The Yom Kippur war in 1973 changed his trajectory as it influenced him to pursue a career in the Jewish community.

Aronson was accepted into the Block Program at the Wurzweiler School of Social Work at Yeshiva University and received his master’s degree. He worked at the Milwaukee Federation in various positions, including as executive director. He has also worked as a community consultant for the Council of Jewish Federations. In 1989, Aronson was named executive vice president (later chief executive office) of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit. Often described as a visionary fundraiser, Aronson was instrumental in creating the Millennium Campaign to enrich Jewish family experience with a focus on renovation and renewal of the Jewish Community Center campus. Other major achievements include moving Federation’s offices from downtown Detroit to Bloomfield Hills, upgrading communal services to older adults, overseeing the largest mission to Israel undertaken by a Jewish community, and strengthening Detroit’s ties to Israel through Federation’s participation with its Partnership 2000 region of Central Galilee. In 2009, Aronson transitioned to a senior fundraising adviser at Federation, a position he maintained until 2019.


Important Subjects

  • Camp Tamarack
  • General Assembly of North American Jewry
  • Israel
  • Jewish Community Center
  • Jewish Home for the Aged
  • Neighborhood Project
  • PACT
  • Partnership 2000
  • Project Renewal
  • Yom Kippur War

Important Names

  • Bob Sosnick
  • Max Fisher
  • Paul Zuckerman

Credit as: Leonard N. Simons Jewish Community Archives. Robert Aronson Oral History Interview, November 10, 2005.