Congregation Shaarey Zedek’s History

Our Story:

“Open the gates of righteousness – I will enter and praise the Lord.” These words could be said not only of today’s Congregation Shaarey Zedek, but of the synagogue’s spirit since its founding.

In 1861, at the beginning of the Civil War, seventeen followers of Traditional Judaism withdrew from the Beth El Society in Detroit to found the “Shaarey Zedek Society.” Then, in 1877 the membership constructed the first building in the Detroit area to be erected specifically as a synagogue, at Congress and St. Antoine.

The membership continued to grow, and in 1913, as the first Conservative Jewish Congregation in the Detroit area, Shaarey Zedek became one of the founding congregations of the United Synagogue of America. Since the nineteenth century, members of the congregation have played leading roles in Michigan, the nation and in world Jewry.

Over the years, Congregation Shaarey Zedek has been located in a number of beautiful and picturesque buildings. These include Winder between St. Antoine and Beaubien Streets, Willis Street E and Brush, and Chicago Boulevard and Lawton which is still standing. At the 100th annual meeting of the Congregation on April 12, 1961, more than 700 members approved the recommendation from the Board of Directors that a new synagogue be built on a forty acre site in Southfield Township.

Congregation Shaarey Zedek provides a permanent resting place for members and their families at our Clover Hill Park Cemetery in Birmingham, MI. Funeral services are often held there at the Davidson-Hermelin Chapel.

Recently, the synagogue’s leadership initiated a strategic planning process that will take Congregation Shaarey Zedek into the future with a clear mission and vision of our growth and development for generations to come.

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