The Lost Synagogues of Detroit » B'NAI ZION [HUMPHREY SHUL]
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Lowell (admin)
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Post Number: 124
Registered: 1-2004
Posted From: 66.167.211.77
Posted on Friday, May 13, 2005 - 12:33 am

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In the 50's - there was a Young Couples Minyan in the basement of the Shul. They had their own services and provided Kiddish every Shabbos. This is where we "davened" when we were married in the 51.
- Ruth & Paul


Humphrey Shul I remember attending shul every Shabbos . I sat upstairs in the balcony with my mother and my two Bubbes. The Rabbi was Rabbi Grushkin and my Zayde Harry Katz was the vice president of the shul. I remember how I loved attending services and following along with my fingers in the Chumash when the Torah was read. Two memories stick out in my mind-one was when Soapy Williams made an appearance at the shul-everyone was so excited and welcomed him warmly...the other was a personal memory of me and my cousins accidentally discovering a pool (must have been the Mikvah) !! The love of Judaism and being a part of the Jewish community all began in this wonderful shul!!
Anita

Many of the houses of worship were known by the street they were on rather than their name, i.e., the Humphrey Shul (synagogue) where my cousin was bar mitzvahed.
Peter

I attended the Humphrey shul as a little boy. My grandfather was a President there. About two years ago, I went back to look at the shul with my father and a friend. We chose a Sunday morning. A man was standing on the sidewalk with a big stick. He explained that his job was to ward off any wild dogs so the parishioners would be safe in their coming and going. We were invited in and sat with the worshippers during the Sunday services. The people were very warm and made us feel at home (even offering us sacraments, which we politely declined.) We were taken on a tour, including the balcony (where, about 50 years ago, I spent most of the time hanging out with the women). It brought back touching memories. The church accepted our modest donations as we left. I recommend this experience to everyone who remembers this shul.
--Larry




Howard Golding (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 68.40.26.129
Posted on Monday, August 01, 2005 - 6:21 pm

I was bar mitzvahed at the Humprey shul in 1957. My recolections are as vivid as that day. The bimah was in the middle of the shul and the women sat upstairs because this was a very orthodox shul.

The steps leading to the front door were very steep and there were so many of them. My grandparents Charles and Manya Siegel were members there.

My grandfather's brother's brother in law Morris Snow was the president of the shul.

There were no rehersals for your bar mitzvah you came ready and prepared when you stepped up to the bimah. I remember Simchas Torah parading around with our apples stuck to the top of our flags. I always looked forward to that holiday.

Our rabbi was Solomon Grushkin one of the most learned and scholorary man I have ever met. He was a rabbis's rabbi. To listen to him interpret the and give explainations of our history,customs and laws was mind boggling. His brillance amazed me every time I sat with him.

He eventually moved to another state to be near his children. It was not long ago I saw in the Jewish News that he died and was buried in Isreal. There will never be another rabbi like Rabbi Grushkin. He also lived on my steet on Tuxedo and Dexter. Those were the good old days.

Just up the street was the Jewish old folks home where older sick jewish people lived. I would give anything to be able to recreate the old neighborhood and go back to the way it was then.

Howard Golding

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Rita Sitron (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 216.11.202.74
Posted on Monday, November 14, 2005 - 2:01 pm

My memories of the Humphrey shul are from when I was little, as my grandparents davened there for years. They lived on Humphrey in a two-family flat - William and Bertha Keller (my grandparents) and the Jacob Poss family. My father Bob Keller and my uncle Rudy Keller grew up there. I remember sitting upstairs with my grandmother and all of the other women. I have memories of the caterers Pheiffer and Epstein - the best caterers in Detroit. I too remember Simhat Torah and marching with the apples stuck on the tops of the flags. It brings back very happy and warm feelings of an age that is now gone.

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Barbara Adler (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 69.246.124.214
Posted on Saturday, October 21, 2006 - 10:26 pm

Recently toured the areas I lived in as a child with friends and one stop brought back vivid memories. My brother was bar mitzvahed in B'nai Zion. He wasn't quite 13 but as our father recently passed away he became the "man" of the home. Rabbi Hoberman, living next door to us prepared him for the big day. How proud and happy we were to see my brother Harry take his place among the men in this shul. We sat upstairs with the rest of the women and watched teary eyed as approached the beautiful bimah and recited from the Torah. Ah those were the days of a close community. How I miss that.

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Phil Sharkey (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 67.162.213.141
Posted on Tuesday, December 05, 2006 - 10:03 am

I read with great warmth the many stories of the various shuls in Detroit. "This was my father's shul." "This was my Bubbe's shul." etc. etc.
Well, this was my Uncle Harry's shul, and that's it, end of story!!!

Our Great-Uncle Harry Florence was maybe the treasurer or perhaps the shammes. After shabbes services at B'nai Moshe a few blocks away on Dexter, or during the long days of davening on Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur we would honor the long standing tradition of shul hopping.

On one such foray to the Humphrey St Shul, we were inside during services, I got separated from my Dad & brother [of course, Mom was upstairs in the balcony with our sister]. As a 6 or 7 year old [late 1940's], I was terrified, swallowed up in a sea of black and gray hatted men, swaying and swooning [in the lost art of] davening. I remember distinctly how the hats formed an impenetrable canopy, making everything seem even more closed in; I was in checkmate, both physically and emotionally, unable to get my bearings or look around to even attempt to recognize anyone.

Also, in "those" days, things were mighty hot, what with closely woven wool suits and the complete absence of any [fresh] air conditioning.

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Barry Grushkin (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 75.22.17.191
Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2008 - 9:09 pm

My name is Barry Grushkin. I have long heard stories about some Rabbis with the same last name in the Detroit area. If anyone here can help me get in touch with anyone in the family, I would value the connection.

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Chava (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 64.152.49.244
Posted on Monday, May 05, 2008 - 6:01 pm

This was also "my Uncle Harry's shul". Uncle Harry was Harold Kaplan, a Kohen, who lived accross Holmer on Humphrey, three hourses away from the Shul and who, together with his family, remained close to Rabbi Gruskin all his life.

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Chava (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 64.152.49.244
Posted on Tuesday, July 22, 2008 - 10:42 pm

Who else remembers Rufus the kindly and helpful black gentleman who worked at the shul for so many years as a Mr. Fix It Man and everything that needed to be done and even continued his relationship with the Gruskins when they moved to Oak Park?

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Yitzhak (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 79.182.36.215
Posted on Thursday, October 22, 2009 - 4:56 pm

Rufus, I believe, lived to be over 100 years old -if not, it was real close. Yes, he did take care of Rabbi Gruskin's shul in Oak Park. He also work for the Kollel and another shul on Southfield and 10 mile (which he quit after nearly freezing to death).

I have fond memories of going to Bnei Zion on 9 mile and Greenfield for about 5 years. Rabbi Gruskin's was wonderful. I would hear about the days at the Humphrey shul and the large crowds he would have. It must have been wonderful.

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