The Jews of Detroit: Past, Present, Future: A symposium

Monday, April 7, 2014

On Sunday, April 6, Wayne State University's Cohn-Haddow Center for Judaic Studies and its Director Howard Lupovitch pulled together a daylong symposium that examined the Jews of Detroit -- their past, present and future.

Sessions included an examination at Detroit's synagogues (including design and architecture) and the migration out of Detroit, the relationship between Jews and African-Americans between 1950 and 2000, plus two panels on where Detroit is currently with its Jewish community and where it is heading.

Below are all of the panels and sessions from Sunday and the respective recordings:

The Jews of Detroit: Past, Present, Future: A Symposium

Part 1: “Greetings”

Professor Howard Lupovitch (Director, Cohn-Haddow Center)
President M. Roy Wilson (Wayne State University)
“Professor Sidney Bolkowsky: In Memoriam”: Professor Jamie Wraight (University of Michigan – Dearborn Campus)

Part 2: “Suburban Synagogues and the Architecture of Urban Ambivalence": Professor Lila Corwin Berman (Temple University)

As Jews moved from the city to the suburbs in the postwar years, they also remade their sacred landscapes. The decisions that Jews in Detroit made about how to design, fund, and inhabit their new synagogues, helped build a spiritual terrain that simultaneously celebrated their arrival in the suburbs and gestured back toward the city lives and landscape they had left.

Part 3: “Wealth, Religion, and Race in Metropolitan Detroit, 1950-2000": Dr. Walter Greason (International Center for Metropolitan Growth/Monmouth University)

How did Detroit miss the opportunity to foster greater interracial cooperation in the years following the Second World War? In what ways were realtors and neighborhood associations at the root of the problems that plague the metropolitan area to the present day? Dr. Walter Greason will discuss the ways the failures to connect and communicate between Jewish and African American leaders over the last sixty years have reinforced inequalities in wealth, income, employment and education.

Part 4: “Why Now?: the Revival of Detroit and its Jewish Community" (Panel Discussion)

David Carroll (Vice President, Quicken Loans Inc.)
Leor Barak (President, Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue)
Coucilman Gabe Leland (Detroit City Council)
Moderator: Professor Howard Lupovitch

Part 5: “The Future of Jewish Detroit”: (Panel Discussion)

Ryan Landau(Co-Founder,
Councilman Jeremy Moss (Southfield City Council)
Eitan Sussman(Keep Growing Detroit)
Josh Diskin(Senior Strategist, Detroit Labs)
Alix Gould-Werth, (Doctoral Student in Social Work And Sociology, University of Michigan)
Moderator: Vadim Avshalumov(Urban Planning Associate, Rock Ventures)
Plus concluding Thoughts: Professor Howard Lupovitch

For more information, please contact the Cohn-Haddow Center (313)577-2679,,