The Lost Synagogues of Detroit » B'NAI ISRAEL [FERRY]
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Lowell (admin)
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Post Number: 119
Registered: 1-2004
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Posted on Thursday, May 12, 2005 - 11:25 pm

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This was B'nai Israel from 1920 - 1925.
- Ruthe

I just wrote to you about living in the old Ferry Seed Company Superintendent's house on East Ferry at St. Antoine. When I first moved there, in 1973, there were still lots of standing but abandoned structures in the immediate area. Along Palmer there were a few abandoned synagogues, and the structure at Kirby and St. Antoine, still standing, which was the Wildlife Field and Stream Club, had been a Jewish Yeshiva. One of my wife's uncles recalls attending classes there.
- PM

I was born and raised at Third Baptist Church, 582 East Ferry Street. So that would have been from 1967 until about 1990--when I married and moved with my husband to another congregation. I never knew that *my* church was originally home to a Jewish synagogue. This would explain the beautiful details throughout the church that I loved and still remember to this day: the marble flooring with tiny mosaic designs lining the borders, the balcony seating's old wooden "movie house" seats that fold up, the simple stained-glass windows, and the "furnace" room that once was used for rough coal storage to supply the old coal-burning furnace (before my time, but I remember the stories).

The surrounding area has changed quite a bit since then. Not all, but a great many of the old roomy "mansions" in the area have been torn down and replaced with new multi-family dwellings. Next door to the church--immediately west--is a large "home" that I've always known to be a half-way house to men. It still functions as such.

Around the corner on St. Antoine just south of E. Ferry still stands an old building that once was home to Children's Hospital. I remember visiting it many times with my mother and brother for medical services.

There are many more fond memories of the area.... too many to list. But I'll share this with you. For some reason when we dream, we usually always revisit our first *whatevers* in our dreams. Our first home, our first love, our first job, our first hurt, our first school, or in my case my first "home church," Third Baptist. Most of the dreams are pleasantries of family gatherings like weddings and babies' blessings and youth events. But, some of the dreams are sad memories that include the smell of bouquets of funeral flowers, or being locked alone inside in the church's huge cold building where voices beckoned me from the dark basement just off the kitchen. I guess it's impossible to have all good memories, but sharing these with you here has brought mixed feelings to mind.

Nonetheless, I'm glad that *my* home church is alive today and still trying to carry out its mission of reaching just one more lost soul; even if it is functioning with a diminished number of congregates. Thanks for allowing me to share.

Detroit, MI