The Lost Synagogues of Detroit » JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER [MEYERS]
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Lowell (admin)
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Post Number: 128
Registered: 1-2004
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Posted on Friday, May 13, 2005 - 12:40 am

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I visited that JCC weekly for about 2 months in the early 70's, probably 1970 or 71. I was 16, from the East Side, and the JCC is on the West Side. It was opulent! It had every sort of activity you could imagine. The pool, where I learned to SCUBA dive, was reportedly the largest in Detroit at that time. That's why the Y.M.C.A. utilized that particular pool. It also had a really high diving board with a very high ceiling. Hope this is of some interest to you.

When I moved to northwest Detroit in 1948, the site of the Meyers JCC was called Meyers Woods and my Brownie troupe from Schulze School used to hike there and roast marsh mellows at campfires. We were so excited when they started construction because the JCC at Dexter and Davison was so far away
and now we had only a few blocks to walk.

I was a counselor at the JCC summer day camp for 3 years, from in 1957 to 1959, and the last year I received 2 hours credit towards my Wayne State U. teaching degree.
-- Sue

The JCC was the center of my social world about 1960. I remember astronomy classes, doing "Anne Franke" in the Theatre group, winning a writing contest, with the essay published in the Tween newsletter, our club "The Vettes", with the sweatshirt drawing of a corvette drawn by Lewis Schiller at 11 (now an architect) and our motto "Pecunia est Pulchra", Bernies Bedtime Stories from our teenage advisor (now a Detroit Judge), handball, throwing jello cubes from the cafeteria at girls in the pool, and so many other wonderful memories!
-- Steven Berman, Ph.D.

I loved going to the JCC on Meyers as a young teenager, from about 1958 to 1960. It was so appealing because it offered a chaperoned place (which made my Mom happy) for me and my girlfriends to go to, to dance and of course meet boys. The cafeteria, located on the same floor, was open for the always hungry crowd. The JCC was a great place to see your current friends and make new ones while dancing to the latest 45 RPM songs of the day.
-- Sara
I went to Schulze Elementary School and I became a member of JCC around
1960. We used to cut across the field and walk to JCC after school to go roller skating or swimming. We had our club meetings (The Capris) and did all kinds of fun things kids love to do. I also remember exploring the back stage of the Theatre (with a bunch of my friends from Schulze) This was our secret!!!
I loved the JCC!!
-- Lynnie

As a kid growing up in Detroit, I lived within one block of two brand new Jewish Centers - they were built during the time my family lived in the neighborhoods. The JCC on Davison was built when I was in Kindergarten at Winterhalter on Broadstreet. We lived on Waverly and, when my parents were busy in our house, my older brother and I would go over to the construction site to play. That is until one very muddy day when I got stuck in the mud and my brother had to pull me out. I actually left my shoes and boots behind in the mud. Was my mother angry.

When we moved to Northwest Detroit, Meyers Woods, the location for the future Jewish Center was a Childs dream come true. There were great places to hide, dirt paths to ride bikes on and, countless trees to climb. When my friends and I heard that most of our treasured woods was going to become a Jewish Center all we could think of is that we were going to lose our paradise. When the construction began, we discovered that there were all kinds of possibilities for us to play in this huge construction site. We spent hundreds of hours playing at the future center during the time it was being built.

When the Center opened, my folks got a family membership and, I took swimming, basketball and art classes. There was a teen lounge in the basement where weekend dances were held. One of the greatest things about the Center was that it was air conditioned (our house wasn't). I also got my first real job at the Center as a coat room attendant for the teen lounge. The pay was 50 cents an hour (tips were forbidden and besides, my patrons were mostly kids I knew).

Years later, I was an officer in the Detroit Federation of Teachers and attended numerous meetings at the Northwest Activities Center (as the JCC was now known) owned by Detroit Parks and Rec.
-- Joel Hearshen

Howard Golding (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted on Monday, August 01, 2005 - 10:50 pm

This is the place that affected my schoolwork at Mumford high school. I spent all my time playing basketball here. This is the place that was the spring board to my deep love of basketball. I played in the first all-star game in this building. I played on the teen varsity for coach Sid Fox. We were the mid-west champions.I remember such wonderful people that influenced me to this day. Bob Basch,Sid Fox, Ted Kaczander Sam cohen,Sid Marker. When I was at Wayne State majoring in physical education I was like an intern I taught childrens after school gym classes. The P.E. dept. influenced my life so to this day I am a P.E. teacher going into my 39 th year in the Oak Park Schools. I am presently the boys varsity basketball coach at Bloomfield Hills Andover High School. All because of the Meyers JCC. My basketball career really started at the JCC on Davison when I was 10 yrs. old I played in a Saturday night league called the Hannah Schloss Old Timers League. This is where I discovered my love for basketball. Sam levey was the PE director and Norm Schillaman was his assistant. My coach was Morrey Surath, some of my teammates were Donnie Surath,Marty Horwitz,Howard Sheckter,Jimmy Slipson. We dominated that league. Our team was the Straus. The JCC will always have a deep feeling to mesicne it was such a big part of my life. I always wanted to give back in some way for what the center and my mentors did for me I am proud to say that I gave 11 summers of my time to coaching the boys Maccabbi baketball team. It was one of the highlights of my life to be a part of somethig so great. Thanks to our Detroit founder Jay Robinson(dec) and Dr. Alan Horowitz for giving me the chance to contribute and give back.

Howard Golding

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nsthtyz (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted on Thursday, September 15, 2005 - 2:31 pm

I have spent several hours now looking through the web pages. A very pleasnt surprise was the posting about the Meyers J.C.C. To me it was the "J". I don't know if I would have recalled the actual name if it hadn't been listed. I belonged to the Kingstons. A social club from Mumford High School. Lost are the contacts from those days since moving away, attending medical school and raising a family in Chicago. The posting about the "J" stirred some fond memories.

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Joyce Schiller (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted on Tuesday, November 08, 2005 - 3:19 pm

The JCC is where my brother Ray and I swam, took the bus to Tamarack, belonged to clubs and just hung out. The JCC is also where I met Lewis Schiller when we were 12. Ten years later, after high school at Cass and college at U of M, we were married. Lew still draws wonderful pictures and is more fun to be with than anyone I know.
Joyce K. (Buch) Schiller, Curator, The Delaware Art Museum

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Posted on Saturday, August 12, 2006 - 12:39 am

I was a sickly kid and my mother never allowed me to swim at the local beaches; she was always afraid of polio during the 1950's. However, when the Meyers JCC opened, my "Bubbie" bought me a season pass so I could swim in the pool. Yeah, boy did I love it! Many years later, my two children attended summer camp at the West Bloomfield JCC, and they enjoyed their "pools" as well. GREAT memories :-)

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Mimi Kalish (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted on Thursday, November 02, 2006 - 10:34 am

I have fond memories of coming the the JCC on Meyers at Curtis to see my parents perform at the beautiful theater they had there. Was it the Aaron Deroy theater? My parents, Liz and Rube Weiss, were in Plaza Suite together, and my dad was in the Sunshine Boys with Whit Vernon. Great memories, and as I recall, my folks played to rave audiences!

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chuckjav (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted on Wednesday, September 26, 2007 - 1:49 pm

Yes, the JCC was an awesome place; my family visited quite often, 1966-1974.

I learned how to swim there...many fond memories.

Good old Coach Izzy ran the swimming team; Coach also told me all about the Maccabiah Games.

Many years later, in 1985, I represented the U.S.A. at the Maccabiah Games in Tel Aviv; I won a gold medal in the javelin throw!

Chuck Greene - Beavercreek, Ohio

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jillsyd (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted on Tuesday, December 25, 2007 - 5:24 pm

jcc at meyers/curtis wsn the placeinthe early 60's it was a safe,secure haven for jewish kids that were not always welcome elsewhere not only were my friends and I allowed to form our own club(which mumford did not allow),not only was it a great place to be with friends but it also was the first place in the community to have special activities and clubs for the retarded. for my brother it was his own club&thursday nites were jewish center nite for him.I shall always be grateful for theinclusivness of parents were involved in theoriginalgroupin detroitfor retarted kids to bring them out of institutions into the community&JCC was a big part of that.

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