The Lost Synagogues of Detroit » YESHIVA BETH YEHUDA & MOGEN AVROM
Author Message

Lowell (admin)
Board Administrator
Username: admin

Post Number: 145
Registered: 1-2004
Posted From:
Posted on Friday, May 13, 2005 - 1:05 am

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]
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ +++++++++++++


The building in the picture was, as others have pointed out, Yeshiva Beth Yehuda. The closer building was the original structure, containing the prayer chapel in the far portion of the building and classrooms, (6 or 7 as I recall) and office areas in the nearer side. I attended the 2 hour after-school sessions from around 1943 until 1948, when I lived across the street on Cortland.

Like one of your earlier correspondents, I attended MacCulloch Elementary, Durfee Intermediate and Central High Schools. Also Wayne (later State) and U of D. The only other detail I can add to the YBY story is that the large school building at the far aspect of the photo was not part of the original site. That space was an open playground where some of the teachers (rabbis) would fungo out softballs to us as we waited along the Sturtevant side of the field...and more than one baseball sailed through the windows of the dental office on Sturtevant facing the site!

I have been following your site for about a year and I must congratulate you on perhaps one of the best sites on the web. It is warm, friendly, informative and wonderfully organized. The memories it has elicited are priceless and the spirit of the participants is more than admirable. Please keep up the excellent work.
- Hal

Yes. the closer building is the shul Mogen Avrohom.

The further building, YBY, was one of the first day schools outside NY. It's building was so impressive in its' day that it was featured on the stationary of Torah Umesorah for a time.
- PK

The picture of the Yeshiva Beth Yehuda is in fact the Yeshiva Beth Yehuda Building. The large 3 story one was the Girls school building and the newer addition circa late 1950's. The smaller one had a dual function as the boys school building and the Mogen Avrom Synagogue. the two organizations continue to have a symbiotic relationship till today.
There is an individual who has many pictures and an expertise on many of these synagogues.
- Maury.

Yes, it is the Yeshiva - I attended it from around 1940 to 1945 (prior to that we attended the B'nai Moshe) when my Zaida became a member. He was William (Wolf) Mitnick and owned the grocery store on Dexter (east side), between Richton and Cortland (they also lived in an apartment on Richton and Dexter). I was Bar Mitzvahed there on June 2, 1945, and attended the day school briefly in the Fall of 45.
- Mitch R

The closer building is the shul Mogen Avrohom. The further building, YBY, was one of the first day schools outside NY. It's building was so impressive in its' day that it was featured on the stationary of Torah Umesorah for a time.
- PK

It is the old Yeshiva Beth Yehuda. I attended classes there and resided close by in an apartment on the corner of Richton and Dexter.
- Arleen

The building you have identified as UHS Dexter [I had identified this as United Hebrew School on Dexter-LB], I believe is the former Yeshiva Beth Yehuda. My brothers attended Day School there and I went to the Beth Jacob Girls School, across the street and above Grunt's Grocery Store.

I also attended the UHS School on Lawton between Tyler and Davison. Perhaps you have confused the two sites.

Have you found evidence of an old synagogue on the corner of Lee Place east of 12th street. It was the Polishe Shul (in Yiddish) Polish Synagogue.

Thank you for assembling this wonderful website. I'm a native Detroiter and went to Thirkell Elementary, MacCulloch Elementary, Durfee Jr. High and Central High School. I also commuted to Wayne State University. Additionally I substituted as an elementary school teacher in Detroit as well as taught at MacCulloch. Therefore I am truly enjoying this exploration.
- Elaine

This was the original site of Yeshiva Beth Yehuda, it was never a UHS site.
- Ruthe

This was never a synagogue. It was Yeshiva Chachmay Lublin.

-- Sheldon

Jeanette (Unregistered Guest)
Permitted by Moderator
Posted From:
Posted on Friday, June 03, 2005 - 4:27 pm

Yeshiva Chachmey Lublin

This was not mentioned in your article. It was in existence around 1945 and was founded by a Rabbi Rothenberg and his brother-in-law Rabbi Franklin. It was located on the cornfer of Elmhurst and Linwood and it had facilities for room and board for out of town students. Rabbi Rothenberg was able to get young men who escaped the holocaust and who made it to Shanghai, as students to come to this country and be saved. We also accomodated day school students in our orthodox school.

Yours truly,

(Message approved by admin)

Walter Levine (Unregistered Guest)
Permitted by Moderator
Posted From:
Posted on Friday, June 03, 2005 - 4:46 pm

I lived two houses away from Yeshiva Beth Yehuda. When it was new it naturally attracted many Orthodox Jews to the area. But it also attracted many youngsters to the day school from the neighborhood whose families were non-observant. There ensued many family conflicts with children who wanted to remake the household -- Sabbath observance, kosher food, 2 sets of dishes etc,). I don't remenber the outcomes, but they were not without interest.

(Message approved by admin)

Norm (Unregistered Guest)
Permitted by Moderator
Posted From:
Posted on Thursday, March 01, 2007 - 12:59 am

Oh my! What memories of attending the Yeshiva from 1955 until 1963 when I left Detrot and moved to LA with my family. I remember the playground, the monkey bars, the bike racks. I remember the Temple and my Bar Mitzva service. I remember being slapped by the Rabbi's when I talked out of turn in my Hebrew classes. I remember walking home a few blocks to Richton and visiting the corner drug store, "George Vs", for a soda. It is a surprise and pleasure to visit these memories coincidentally while just surfing around the WEB. All my best wishes to my old schoolmates that I spend my early childhood with.

(Message approved by admin)

Chava (Unregistered Guest)
Permitted by Moderator
Posted From:
Posted on Tuesday, March 11, 2008 - 5:48 pm

I attended Yeshivath Beth Yehudah from the late 1940's first in their afternoon school and then later in the 1950's in the Beth Jacob Division (Girl's Division) of the Day School. I attended until I graduated High School.

My most beautiful memories of my childhood are tied to Yeshivath Beth Yehudah. Beth Yehudah boasted some of the most prominent Rabbis of our generation as the principals and teachers.

Rabbi Joseph Elias who now lives in Monsey, NY was principal for many years. He led the school both the boys and the girls divisions and both the Religious Studies Programs as well as the Secular Studies Program. He led the schooll during tremendous growth of the school. His sterling character traits and abilities as an adminsitrator left an indelable impression on me. Also Mrs. Elias was my teacher and one of the best I ever had.

Rabbi Sholom Goldstein A"H (May His Sole Rest in Peace) was Assistant Principal and later after Rabbi Elias left Detroit for New York, Rabbi Goldstein (with his flaming red beard) and his constant good humor, open mind and patience became principal of the growing Beth Jacob Division. Everyone knew there was nothing (from the Yehsivah bus to the memograph machine in the office) that Rabbi Goldstein couldn't fix. There was also nothing going on in the student's lives that needed help that he couldn't somehow find a way to solve. Rabbi Goldstein led the school during their moves from Dexter to Northwest Detroit (the former United Hebrew School building) on Schaefer, to the separated quarters in two shuls in Oak Park (Mishkan Israel and Bnai Israel) to the building in Brimingham (in the 14 Mile Road - Lahser vicinity) and finally to their present home in the former Bnai Moshe Building on West Ten Mile Road and Chuch in Oak Park. My relationship with Rabbi Goldstein continued long after I graduated HS and moved to New York. He was a man who to know him was to respect and love him. No matter how long I hadn't seen him I always knew I could call on him for anything.... and I did.

Rabbi Avraham Abba Freedman (A"H May His Soul Rest IN Peace) was Assistant Principal of the boy's division and was always in involved in outreach projects in the community. Whether it was building Succos for families who didn't have them or taking the boys on trips to New York to show them a larger Jewish community. How many families he helped in so many ways but always helping bring them closer to Judaism. In later years Rabbi Freedman was very involved in helping the new Russian immigrants integrate into the community and at the sanme time helped them to come closer to Yiddishkeit.

Yeshivath Beth Yehudah was "not another Hebrew school" - it was a school that you always carried a part of in your heart. And there was a reason for that, in my experience we weren't just another student there - they really cared about us, our families and our future.

(Message approved by admin)

Chava (Unregistered Guest)
Permitted by Moderator
Posted From:
Posted on Monday, May 05, 2008 - 7:00 pm

I want to add to my earlier posting the names of Rabbis who taught at Beth Yehudah. Maybe they will bring back memories for others.

Before Rabbi Elias was principal his predecessors were Rabbi Simcha Wasserman A"H who later moved to Los Angeles and then to Israel and also Rabbi Samson R. Weiss who moved to New York.

Dr. Hugo Mandelbaum A"H a noted mathmatics professor at Wayne State University was the Secular Studies Principal and also a teacher at Beth Yehudah. He later retired to Israel.

Dr. Mandelbaum's son-in-law Rabbi Yisroel Flam A"H (who was Rabbi of Cong. Bnei Israel on Linwood near Leslie) and his brother Rabbi Sholom Flam A"H (who was Rabbi of Cong. Shomrey Emunah on Schaefer Road 1 block South of West 7 Mile Road) were both Rabbis at Beth Yehudah.

Rabbi Brown A"H, Rabbi David Zwick A"H, Rabbi Zentman (now living in Monsey, NY), Rabbi Elchonen Jaffe (now living in Brooklyn), Rabbi Berel Moskowitz (now livng in Monsey, NY), Rabbi Akiva Greenberg (now living either in Israel or NY), Rabbi Eric Greenbaum A"H, Rabbi Nachman Kahn A"H, Rabbi Abraham Moseson A"H, Rabbi Joseph Moseson A"H, Rabbi Yisroel Grumer (now Rabbi of Cong Shomer Shabbos in Cleveland Heights, OH), Rabbi Shlomo Hochler (now living in Toronto), Rabbi Shneur Weinberg (now livng in Toronto & Miami), Rabbi Yankel Glukowsky A"H, Rabbi Nissim Hayward A"H, Rabbi Dovid Reiss (now living in Brooklyn), Rabbi Shmuel Kaufman who is still a Rabbi at Beth Yehudah, Rabbi Gold, Rabbi Yankel Leibel (now living in Brooklyn), Rabbi Yosef Klein A"H, Rabbi Perlowitz A"H, Rabbi Gross, Rabbi Meir Lieberson who is still teaching at Beth Jacob division of Beth Yehudah, Rabbi Benny Stein, Rabbi Yaakov Levi (now living in Jerusalem), Rabbi Chaim Schloss A"H, Rabbi Moshe Newman (now living in Brooklyn, NY), Rabbi Moshe Polter A"H, Rabbi Naphtali Carlebach, Rabbi Shaill Zachariash (Rabbi of Cong. Shomrey Emunah on Southfeild Road in Southfield).

Beth Yehudah also had another division know as the Beth Medrash. It was the post high school Talmudic department which was led by the great Torah sage Rabbi Leib Bakst z'tzl.

These Rabbis were not just teachers they put their hearts and souls into imbuing their students with the precepts of the Holy Torah to help guide us through our future years. We didn't just know them in school many times we were invited to their homes for a Shabbos meal or just a visit.

Beth Yehudah also ran a Day Camp in the summer. What great times we had there, our trips to Tiger Baseball Games, Bob-Lo, Belle Isle, Palmer Park, Lola Valley Park. Wow, those were great years thanks to the dedication and work of the Rabbis.

Beth Yehudah is a thriving day school today with registration at an all time high even though there are other Orthodox Jewish Day Schools in Detroit. They are located in Southfield and Oak Park in beautiful modern buildings with all the amenities one could ask for. But the greatest thing they offer is true everlasting concern, love and care for their students.

(Message approved by admin)

Chava (Unregistered Guest)
Permitted by Moderator
Posted From:
Posted on Monday, July 28, 2008 - 2:03 pm

Achrone Achrone Chaviv, we save the best for last (loose translation) Rabbi Shmuel Elya Cohen who was a Hebrew teacher, a secular studies teacher for many years, after which he became English principal of the girl's high school. After Rabbi Goldstein passing, Rabbi Cohen became the principal of the entire Girls School and remained in that post for several years. Rabbi Cohen devoted most of the years of his life and certainly his heart and soul to Yeshivath Beth Yehudah and Beth Jacob in particular.

(Message approved by admin)

lucinda (Unregistered Guest)
Permitted by Moderator
Posted From:
Posted on Sunday, April 19, 2009 - 4:43 pm

This was fascinating!! I found this by mistake but I find it amazing to learn about my side of town in Detroit before my mother was born...of course I had no knowledge of this history given that I grew up in the area in the 70s. Thanks for the insight and I will look at my neighborhood with a new light when I return..I am sure most of you have not returned in awhile given the state of affairs. I do hope things get better!

(Message approved by admin)