The Lost Synagogues of Detroit » AHAVATH ZION
Author Message

Lowell (admin)
Board Administrator
Username: admin

Post Number: 97
Registered: 1-2004
Posted From:
Posted on Thursday, May 12, 2005 - 3:30 pm

Tell us about this site! The following memories were previously contributed by email. To add your memories simply scroll to the bottom where you will find the "Add Your Message Here" posting box. Write your message, put any name you wish in the username box and click Preview/Post Message. [No password needed]+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


This congregation built on the Eastside of Woodward and was here 1921-38. The cornerstone is written in Hebrew with the letters corresponding to the Hebrew year 5681 (1920-21). 2001 is 5761 for reference. At the time, this was a vibrant Jewish neighborhood where members could walk to shul.The building is called Ahavath Zion, "Love of Zion" reflecting the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. On the exterior are the usage of Hebrew, Yiddish, and English languages. "Cong. Ahavath Zion" is written in English to announce that it is located in an American city, yet, just above the door, closer to the passing members, in Hebrew is a Yiddishized "Cong. Ahavah Zion". The cornerstone is Hebrew for the year 5681. With Jewish prosperity post war, native-born sons and daughters moved swiftly from this area up to and beyond Seven Mile Road and West of Woodward Avenue. Jewish hospital, shopping, The JCC, etc. moved so this orthodox building had to be left behind too. It must be remembered that the orthodox care to walk to shul on Shabbos, so when older members die out and younger ones move away, the buildings are abandoned.

My maternal grandfather, Charles Gordon, spent almost every day of his life during my memory (early 1930s to about 1940) in this synagogue in prayer. He and his immediate family, wife, my mother and her brother immigrated from Russian Poland, Lublin, in 1905. The lived in a two family I believe at the corner of John R and Holbrook. My grandparents lived downstairs and my father mother and sister and I lived upstairs until my mother died in 1932. To the best of my recollection and in discussion with my sister the congregation was almost entirely immigrant Jews from southeastern Poland which when they immigrated was under Russian sovereignty. It was of course an orthodox congregation but not Hassidim. It was a time when the men prayed on the first floor and the women had to sit in the balcony.

Chava (Unregistered Guest)
Permitted by Moderator
Posted From:
Posted on Wednesday, July 23, 2008 - 2:07 pm

To Ron

You said in your post that it was a time when the men prayed on the first floor and the women had to sit in the balcony.

Having a separation (mechitza) between the sexes during davening (prayers) is not something of the past. It is a law in the Torah and one to which all Orthodox synagogues still adhere to - whether it's with a balcony or a room divider. And let me make it clear as a woman that it in no way makes women "second class citizens". I am not a man, I am not less worthy than a man but I'm a woman!

When the Reform and Conservative movements formed they made major changes both in the prayers and in the obvervance of the commandments in the Torah. They wanted a more "user friendly" Judaism and went about picking and choosing those things that they felt would make their congregants happy and therefore would keep their membership in their congregations.

Jewish Law (Halacha) has not changed and is not subject to change by the whims of society. Our society should revolve around the laws of the Torah rather than the reverse.

Tragically with all these changes came a great number of inter-marriages and other blows to our people. Makes sense - if you can arbitraily change one law, obviously you can change whatever you want!

There was a time when the Reform and Conservative movements were attracting many people who found Orthodoxy too diffiuclt. Those times have changed and so has the membership in the Reform and Orthodox Congregations. The Reform movement at it''s convention voted to reverse some of their moves so as to have some substance for their congregants who were leaving in droves because there was nothing concrete and spiritual to hold them.

Today there is a tremendous Baal Teshuvah (those returning to Torah true Judaism) movement with thousands of people, mostly young, returning to the tenets of the Torah and the ways of the Jewish people.

(Message approved by admin)