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Shared Memories of B'nai David
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grandfather, Herschel Belinsky, was one of the earliest members of B'nai
David. I have fond memories of the synagogue from almost 50 years ago.
I would really appreciate any interior images. Thanks.
belonged to Bnai David for 60 years. To the Sisterhood forever; to the
Synagogue over 40 years. I remember many wonderful times with Bnai David.
Sisterhood was a very important pillar in the existence of Bnai David.
My life with Bnai David went through three rabbis: (Sparks, Donen &Yolkiet)
and one wonderful Cantor, Adler. In the early years of the sisterhood,
we had all our meetings at night at Elmhurst and Fourteenth. We walked
there. Some had cars and picked up other members. Most of our luncheons
were prepared at night. Many times we had spaghetti up to our elbows.
Our children were home asleep with fathers as "sitters". The
sisterhood with time and fund raising took pride in everything they did
for the Synagogue. Just to mention some of what they did: Furnished the
foyer with new upholstered benches. Placed beautiful plants in the sanctuary.
Curtained the beama and placed fresh flowers in front of it. Polished
the benches. Remodeled the Bridal room. Had new fixtures installed in
all lavatories painted the small Social hall and put in new Venetian blinds.
In the large social hall we bought and installed new curtains. Polished
all wood walls. For the stage we bought and installed new velvet draw
drapes. Carpeted the stage. And bought 500 new chairs. The small chapel
had all its brass and wood cleaned and polished. Bought the installed
new Venetian blinds. To beautiful Presidential chairs were reupholstered.
The kitchen was completely remodeled with new stove, refrigerator, and
freezer , sink, disposal , New cupboards with locks, Pots and pans.
1942 I attended Sunday School at the B'nai David. By 1944 I then attended
the United Hebrew School which was housed in the Central High School Building
at Tuxedo & LaSalle.
1947 and 1950 I was the Cantor of the Junior Congregation which was run
by the United Hebrew Schools. A teacher by the name of Rottenberg was
in charge. I believe he was the principal of the school which held classes
at Central High School after 3:00 pm. when the High School closed down
for the day.
Rabbi Sperka was the original Rabbi. He performed my parents' wedding
ceremony which took place in Mt. Clemons in 1932. Rabbi Donnin also officiated
at the Elmhurst synagogue. Rabbi Adler was the Cantor.
Nelson Samuel Magedman
Lenore and I were married at B'nai David on Elmhurst &14th
on Dec. 7,1947. Rabbi Sperka and Cantor Adler officiated. Our kids, Mona,
Arlene and Jerry all attended Hebrew school at the Southfield site. My
brother-in-law, Harry Koltonow was president one year on Southfield, but
I'm not sure of the year. I'm sure his wife Lottie, or his kids, Marlene,
Leonard or Carolyn would remember.
Rabbi Joshua Sperka was the Rabbi when it was on Elmhurst
- then when it moved to Southfield - Rabbi Donin z'l, was the Rabbi -
Cantor Chaim Adler officiated at both Shuls --- it was Traditional after
it had mixed seating - never conservative! The last Rabbi was Yolkut.
- Ruth M.
On your Web page on "The Lost Synagogue's of Detroit",
B'Nai David is incorrectly described as moving to "western Oak Park".
The new 1956 location is in Southfield, (Southfield @ 9½ mile)
not Oak Park.
This is actually the former B'Nai David. I grew
up in this synagogue. The congregation moved sometime in the late 50's
or maybe early 60's to Southfield. If you go inside, you will see on the
ceiling a number of memorial plaques and other memorabilia. When the congregation
turned 100 (in Southfield), a film was done of the old synagogue. This
was B'Nai David's second home, I believe. The Southfield synagogue is
now the Southfield Center for the Arts. The congregation split about ten
years ago and the remnants of the original congregation are dissipating
pretty fast. I believe that when B'Nai David was first formed (prior to
14th and Elmhurst), it was formed by Hungarian Jews.
I went to Hebrew school here from 1938 until 1942 and was prepared here
for my Bar Mitzvah although it did not occur at this synagogue. My paternal
grandfather was responsible for my religious training. I suspect he picked
out this synagogue because of its proximity to where I lived with my parents,
which was 1721 Collingwood, just east of 12th street. We had no other
connection with the synagogue and I don't remember a lot about except
the musty smell in the basement classroom.
I did attend some Saturday services and my recollection
is that I was impressed with its ambiance.
John L. Popkin. Early Romanesque with a decided Byzantine feeling.
Large two story arch frames a triple entrance. The tablets of the Law
(Ten Commandments) pierce the roofline at the center of a large arcuated
frieze. Solomonic columns and winged lions lend an exotic eastern air.
Financial problems in the Depression led them to reorganize
as B'nai David. This is one of the major Detroit conservative congregations.
In 1956, B'nai David moved to 24350 Southfield Road, in
western Oak Park, Michigan. By about this time, most of the congregants
had moved either to the Curtis-Wyoming area or in new Oak Park and Southfield
tracts. Noteworthy, the Jewish Community Centers, the Jewish social agencies,
Hebrew Schools, and other Jewish institutions were also out in NW Detroit
or the suburbs by 1956.
You might want to tie the Butzel Bldg. on Madison
Ave. (Jewish Federation) to this. The Federation held on downtown long
after Jews lived nearby. The Federation bldg., now law offices, is nicely
maintained I think.
I first was inside this synagogue when I was 4 yrs. old...participating
in my Aunt & Uncles wedding in 1936. My brother & I were a junior
usher & junior bridesmaid. When we practiced walking down the two
isles, looking across the empty rows at each other, it was a cinch. But
when we did it for real at the wedding, it was impossible to see each
other because those rows were filled with PEOPLE!! What fond memories!