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Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue

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The Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue is a Jewish synagogue in Detroit, Michigan. As of 2008, it is the only congregationally-owned synagogue building still used as a synagogue within Detroit proper; however, the Reconstructionist Congregation of Detroit, an active Jewish congregation, conducts regular worship services in a high-rise residential building in the Lafayette Park neighborhood just east of Detroit's central business district.

The Isaac Agree Memorial Society was formed in 1921 by the Agree, Canvasser, Kaplan, Rosin and Zatkin families.[1] The synagogue has gone through two periods were it did not own a permanent building. The congregation purchased its current location on Griswold Street and Clifford Street from the former Fyntex department store, marking its third home. In years past, the shul had hundreds of members, joined by Jewish businessmen visiting and working in the city. 600 worshipers attended the synagogue's High Holiday services in 2007, which were open to all.[2]

As recently as 2000, the congregation drew 25 to 30 worshipers for Shabbat services on Saturday mornings.[3] Rabbi Noah Gamze, who had been the synagogue's leader, died in 2003, and has not been replaced since. Template:Asof, the congregation has had to resort to recruiting the African-American owner of a nightclub next door in order to meet the need for a minyan, the requisite quorum of ten adult males needed for public services. The Shabbat morning prayer services are the only weekly scheduled services now offered by the synagogue.[2]

Patrons and staff of a neighboring club have joined together to develop a plan to help revitalize the synagogue, hoping not just to save the building but to make it a "a hub for the people returning to the city and the energy that represents", according to a member of the group. A contractor estimated that it would cost $450,000 to repair the building and convert the top two floors into live / work space, hoping to reach out to the young and educated people who are moving into the center city area. The group has approached the board with the proposal.[2]


  1. Downtown Synagogue, The Lost Synagogues of Detroit. Accessed December 18, 2008.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Aguilar, Louis. "Saving Detroit's last synagogue", The Detroit News, December 18, 2008. Accessed December 18, 2008.
  3. Staff. "Downtown synagogue rabbi and members keep the faith", The Detroit News, December 27, 2000. Accessed December 18, 2008.

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