The Lost Synagogues of Detroit » BETH EL [BONSTELLE]
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Lowell (admin)
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Post Number: 107
Registered: 1-2004
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Posted on Friday, May 13, 2005 - 12:01 am

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Beth el II was the home of the first jewish community center - this is now known as the Considine Recreation Center (City of detroit) near Northern High. The next Jewish comm-ctr was at Petosky and West Davison later the site of ???? Hospital. Next Jewish comm ctr was build and is now the present Northwest Activities center.Wow! Thanks for the trip down memory lane! I attended Beth El Sunday School from age 5 in 1955 through Bar Mitzvah and Confirmation (end of HS in 67). The congregation built at 14th and Telegraph when I was at Wayne State University. The well known Rabbi when I was young was Richard Hertz, and the choir-master was Julian Tikton and his wife whose name, I think, was Vivian.


It was one of the largest best-established Reform congregations in Detroit in the 50s and 60s. Although we complained bitterly about having to get up and go downtown early Sunday mornings, we had a great time at Beth El. In the early 60s I remember skipping out of class and running down the street to Big Daddyos to eat burgers with black people (who were only seen as maids in our own neighborhoods) and play dangerous sounding music on the juke box like "Hit the Road Jack". The movie "Liberty Heights" captures what it was like quite well. There was a beatnik basement coffeehouse attached to the temple that was, of course, off limits to us younger kids, and quite desirable as a result. I think it was called "The Retort". Sadly, I never got down there.
- Steven B.

Temple Beth El at 3424 Woodward and Elliot, by Mason and Kahn, is now the Bonstelle Theater. There is no relationship today with the original usage. The exterior is a model of the Pantheon and the interior was richly decorated with Louis XVI detailing. Interior seating is semi-circular around the dome resting on squinches and , in turn, piers.

The land was purchased in 1901 and the cornerstone was laid in 1902. The dedication was held Sept. 18-19, 1903. In 1905, a Temple gym was dedicated. A mass meeting on behalf of the victims of the San Francisco earthquake was held here on April 21, 1906.

In 1922, the congregation moved to another Kahn-designed Temple Beth El, up to 8801 Woodward at Gladstone. This building recalls The Lincoln Memorial.
- Arnie P

jrb2305 (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted on Saturday, May 03, 2008 - 9:52 pm

I have a newspaper clipping from the erly 20th century regarding the Obituary of my Great Great Grandfather, Andrew Hild. He owned his own contracting business on Orleans Street in Detroit. The article states that he constructed the Temple Beth El and many of the oldest buildins in Detroit and Ann Arbor.

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