The Lost Synagogues of Detroit » ADAT SHALOM
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Lowell (admin)
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Post Number: 96
Registered: 1-2004
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Posted on Thursday, May 12, 2005 - 3:26 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]++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ +++++++++++++


I spent many years at Adas Shalom. It was originally called the Northwest Hebrew Congregation and I remember when they built the sanctuary. I was the co-chair of the Confirmation class in 1959, (unsure of the year), with Alyssa Kahn. There were about 65 girls and I still have the recording of the service! Our picture hangs in the current building. Marion

Yes i was married at adas shalom synagogue on curtis. You have the proper
pictures. We were married on 12-24-57. Our first born was bar mitzvah at
adas shalom in october 1971. When the synagogue was sold and the new adat
shalom synagogue was built in farmington hills. We are still members and my
three daughters and so far one of my four grandchildren had her bat mitzvah
january,2000 to make that a family tradition. Rabbi adler was never the
rabbi at our synagogue. I hope this helps. If you need more info let me


This huge conservative synagogue along Curtis Road was built in 1946. It reflects a new post-war design when congregations expanded their buildings to include much much more than just a place to pray (daven.) Although the sanctuary was the size of a theater with The Ten Commandments atop the corner dome, the building also provides classrooms, offices, library, social hall, kitchens, and other non-liturgical facailities. Ofcourse, a parking lot also had to be provided. The multi-purpose synagogue was necessary after WWII since the second generation families were now native born Americans, and the neighborhoods no longer were tightly knitted Jewish enclaves with external supportive services. The families had less internal Jewish languages, less at-home religion and Yiddish-keit. So the synagogue's mission was broadened to include more services with bigger buildings.


i was bar mitzvahed at Adat Shalom in 1963. There was a tour of Jewish Detroit this summer sponsored by Adat Shalom. We went into the former Synagogue-it was still beautiful. it was like the Jewish members never left. the foyer was still the way it was , as well as the Stars of David above the entrance as well as in the main sanctuary. the velvet seats were the same in the sanctuary. the church has maintained the building very well. in the lobby the big area for the plaques was still there. in the small chapel there was a clock on the back wall that had USY around the circle. In the school wing i went into the office area which was up a few steps-on the entrance door to the offices it still has United Hebrew Schools stenciled in gold letters on the main bar mitzvah party was in the lower level. it is the same conditioned as it was then. the stage still looks good as well. i was quite pleased to walk in to the building. the foyer was as stunning as it was then-the marble columns,curved staircase and the marble floor is in great shape.


I think the Curtis location is Adas Shalom, a conservative powerhouse. It probably is the Adat Shalom today in the suburbs. Call them to confirm. The change in name is because of Israeli domination of the Hebrew language. They took on Sephardic Hebrew and so in the diaspora (dispersion), Jews are dropping the Ashkenazic Hebrew pronunciations. Instead of seeing a Hebrew letter pronounced "S", it is now pronounced "T". It is the same letter in print.

As for Adas Shalom Synagogue, if you show me a cornerstone or anything with the Hebrew lettering, I could tell you for sure. The bldg. was built in the 50s. Remember year 2001 is 5761 in the Hebrew calendar. That could tell you when it was built if you find a cornerstone. Shalom,
- Arnie P

This was the conservative synagogue for many of the Jewish community that lived west of Woodward. This neighborhood extended north and south along Seven Mile Road. Affiliation was robust during the years up through the 1960's. Eventually the congregation, made up of families of Ashkenazim, built a building in the suburbs. The congregation is still very active in the new location. The original pronunciation was Adas due to the origin of the families being from northern Europe. It was spelled that way on the marquee. Later, at the time of the move, the name took on the modern, Sephardic inflection. I reminisce about the vibrant activity that took place there, four days a week after school. The requirement of passage was to attend Hebrew school for four years, at least until Bar Mitzvah or Confirmation. The school building was adjacent to the main sanctuary. There was a social hall in the basement, that doubled as a sanctuary during the High Holidays. My sister's wedding reception was there. She was married in the main sanctuary, where I had my Bar Mitzvah. It was a beautiful, domed, wood lined semi-rotunda. The ceiling was covered with a gold leaf. The seats were a deep blue velvet. The rabbi would appear on the bema magically, when he entered though a door that appeared suddenly from one of the wood panels near the ark. The main lobby was covered with marble on the floor and walls.

There were so many kids of Bar Mitzvah age, due to the baby boom, that we had to share our portions. The Rabbi was Jacob Siegal and The Cantor's name was Finkel. No one who took Bar Mitzvah lessons there would forget Mr. Plofkin.
- Joe R

My bar mitzva was there in 1968. My parents were married there in I believe 1953, I think I have a 16mm movie of the event w/ Rabbi Morris Adler.
- HC

Adas Shalom synagogue is now Adat Shalom Synagogue, in Farmington Hills. I
am sure they can supply you with all the information you would like.
- JT

The cantor's name was Cantor Fenakel not Finkel who was officiating with Rabbi Segal. I am interested in finding the last name of Marion who was in the 1959 confirmation class and left info on the site. I am Alyssa Kahn Mertz that she mentioned and I think her maiden name was Marion Helfman, but I'm not sure.

Adat Shalom The etched glass windows are still kept hanging, along with confirmation pictures at the Adat Shalom building in Farmington Hills. Rabbi Segal's legacy carries on with The Jacob's Ladder Aron Kodesh tapestries and countless rabbis in the Conservative movement. Rabbi Segal's grandson is now a Rabbinical student.
-- Harvey

Hi... Let me preface this by saying how breath-taking your entire Detroit website is. I am absolutely knocked out by all of it.
I was born on the East Side, lived on the Northwest side from ages 13-20 then headed to Vermont where all aging Flower Children
were gathering after the '67 Riots.

I lived on London, the street directly behind Adas Shalom. I babysat regularly for Cantor Fenekal's daughter Judy and schlepped downtown every day to Cass Tech (Class of '65, Commercial Art) I joined USY there to meet the Mumford kids in my neighborhood and had a great time---lots of very cute boys there . It was a beautiful synagogue, very awe-inspiring and I often went alone just to savor the feeling of belonging to something very special. Rabbi Segal (Siegel?) was a fine speaker and the Cantor one of the best in Detroit.

I attended Beth Aaron every Passover with my friends whose family were members. Why are the Jewish holidays always during the hottest days of Indian Summer? My girlfriends & I sweltered in our new (wool!) outfits. During the long, long services we'd try to duck out to join the other kids on Wyoming for some fresh air and socializing.

I thank you for the chance to think about & "visit" these places once again. I'm passing along your website info to all of us ex-Motown vagabonds scattered throughout the US & Canada. I'm still wiping away the tears.

Live and be well--- Marilynn Stein Langley

Barbara (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted on Saturday, February 04, 2006 - 2:38 pm

My family belonged to Adas Shalom and I was confirmed there in the mid 60s. I spent(too)many years in religious school there. I started Sunday School in, I think, first grade, then Hebrew school starting in 6th grade, and finally Rabbi Study in the last year before confirmation.

I have very strong memories of Rabbi Segal and I can remember Cantor Fenakel's face very well. I didn't remember his name, though, until I read it here.

Other things I remember: The very impressive main chapel and the smaller chapel, that was in the school building, that was used for the kid's services on the high holidays. I also remember ducking out from the services to hang out outside with other kids. As someone else mentioned it was always very hot for the holidays, and in those days we always wore our new fall outfits.

At some point in my years of education there, I remember that it was supposed to be manditory to go to Saturday Shabbat services. I don't remember how many I actually went to, but the best part was the kiddish meal afterward in the basement social hall.

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Florence (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted on Sunday, May 04, 2008 - 10:34 pm

I was a member of Mayflower Congregational right next door - I remember really enjoying the several Sundays each year when the Rabbi from next door would come to speak to was the perfect place to grow up....

Florence Chickering
I used to live at 10612 Curtis, went to Schulze Elementary, and then Mumford for my freshman year...had to move in 1962 when my father was transferred away....`

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Elisa (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted on Tuesday, May 06, 2008 - 4:53 pm

My dad tells me that my grandparents, who lived on Prairie street were among the original founders of Northwest Hebrew Congregation in the early 1940s, which ultimately became Adat Shalom. There appears to be no recordkeeping that goes far enough back to confirm his memories. Services were initially held in his parents' living room. Then they moved to Bagley school. Then they moved to a building on Curtis street. Does anyone have information on the origination of Northwest Hebrew Congregation, stories, pictures or names? I'm trying to do genealogical work on our family tree and I » d like to know more about this. If so, please email me at Thank you.

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Florence (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted on Monday, May 19, 2008 - 10:38 pm

How do I contact admin????

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Howard Kay (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted on Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - 6:34 pm

My cousin Joel who now lives in Los Angeles brought this website to my attention yesterday. It is stunning. I grew up on San Juan, just a few blocks from Adas Sholom. Both my brother Alan & I had our Bar Mitzvahs there in 1955 & 1957, respectively. We both live in Florida and have been here since I graduated from Mumford HS in 1962. I vividly remember walking to Hebrew School after school and Mr. Michlin (?) , the principal. We would cut classes when the new cars came out and go check them out at the car dealers on Livernois. I also remember roaming the Synagogue building to avoid sitting in services after sitting for a few hours. I remember Rabbi Jacob Segal like it was last year and can recall how the back of Cantor Fenakel's neck would get so red when he chanted when facing the ark. I sang in his choir for a year and was so surprised when he moved to West Palm Beach and became the religious leader of a new congregation and he remembered me and my family. He passed away several years ago and his wife Mollie more recently. They were wonderful people. Their daughter Judy lives here as well and she babysat for our kids, who now have their own. We are still good friends.
Adas Sholom and Detroits Jewish community are my roots. We gave our children Jewish Day School backgrounds and their kids know what it means to be Jewish. Two days ago we spent the weekend with our daughter and family and she chanted the Torah portion for the third year on the second day of Rosh Hashonah.

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