The Jewish Historical Society of Michigan shares and celebrates the experiences and contributions of the Jewish people, communities, and institutions of Michigan. We are uniquely able to present and bring to life the contributions and legacies of the Jews of Michigan by presenting educational programs, tours and events; and by producing quality publications and materials that preserve and celebrate the stories of Michigan’s settlers and citizens along with the legacies of today’s innovators and urban pioneers.
JHSM’s award-winning Settlers to Citizens Bus Tours of Historic Jewish Michigan give life to Michigan’s rich Jewish history and showcase the accomplishments of Michigan’s Jewish citizens. Our tours, led by a team of volunteer docents, include visits to former synagogues, and explorations of sites of historic interest, both old and new. Our tours are designed to entertain, educate and inform, and to allow participants to feel a sense of pride in our Jewish culture and heritage. JHSM conducts two to three public tours annually, check our calendar for details.
Private tours are a meaningful and popular way for families, organizations, sisterhoods and brotherhoods, reunion committees and other groups to gain a deeper connection to Detroit’s Jewish roots. Our docent team and staff will work with your group or family to craft a customized tour of historic Jewish Detroit.
JHSM’s Speakers Bureau travels around the state to present one of several multi-media “virtual tours” of historic Jewish Michigan. Members of JHSM’s Speakers Bureau are seasoned JHSM docents who bring their own unique style to the program.
From Hastings to Home: Take a trip back in time as we trace the history of early Jewish Detroit, from the first large Jewish community in 1850 to the birth of the baby boom generation. This presentation includes the 7‐minute mini-documentary, “Life on Hastings Street.”
The Synagogues of Michigan is a visual history of Jewish Michigan, from its tip to toe, and focuses on the establishment of synagogues in communities large and small. Many architectural features of the synagogues visited are included.
Michigan Women Who Made a Difference: This preview of the expansive MWWMD project includes the stories and accomplishments of some of the women who helped to build and shape Jewish Michigan. Hear the voice of Emma Schaver and see the artwork of some of our Remarkable Artists.
Yearbook Show & Tell: A perfect chance for guests to reminisce and share memories as a JHSM volunteer shows off a variety of the yearbooks from the JHSM Yearbook Collection. We are especially proud that presentations held at senior residences or day programs will be provided to that organization at no charge. A stipend will be charged for other groups.
The JHSM maintains an active year-round calendar of activities that support the organization’s mission. JHSM presents and sponsors, often in collaboration with other organizations, author chats, lectures and events that relate to the preservation and celebration of Michigan’s Jewish heritage and history. Our events are crafted to be both educational and entertaining and appeal to a broad range of participants. JHSM also extends its programming to areas outside of Detroit, including communities such as Traverse City, Flint and Windsor, Ontario.
In 2010, JHSM launched a collaborative community-awareness event, J-Cycle, a bicycle tour of historic Jewish Detroit. Held each August, and always for a sold-out crowd, J-Cycle enables participants to enjoy the sights and sounds of the city while learning the area’s Jewish history.
The JHSM Jewish History Curriculum reaches between 350 and 450 middle school students each year as educators not only bring Jewish history to life but also demonstrate how Jewish values have been and continue to be a part of everyday life.
Sharing our state’s proud Jewish history is central to the mission of the Jewish Historical Society of Michigan. The JHSM Jewish History Curriculum are professionally developed curricula delivered to religious school students throughout the state. The goal of these programs is to share Jewish history in an engaging fashion so that students develop an understanding of Michigan’s Jewish leadership, and also to build Jewish pride and identity by bringing to life the stories of Michigan’s early Jewish settlers along with the legacies of today’s Jewish innovators, philanthropists and urban pioneers.
The Traveling Trunk: Detroit’s Jewish History Classroom Lessons, developed in collaboration with the Metro Detroit Board of Jewish Educators, consist of four classroom lessons that actively explore and engage students in the history of Detroit’s Jewish community: from the earliest settlers in the 1760s, to the first wave of immigrants in the late 19th century, to modern-day history makers. Using a customized Student Journal (workbook) filled with historical facts and images, students explore the legacy of early founders and organizations that helped make Detroit a unique place to live.
The Judith Levin Cantor Historical Resource collection, a variety of newspaper articles and primary research materials on a variety of subjects, is available to researchers and members on an appointment-only basis. Other assets that are of interest include the Michigan Jewish History Digitized Archives and the JHSM Yearbook collection.