Shaarey Zedek (Hebrew for Gates of Righteousness) is a Conservative synagogue in the Detroit, Michigan suburb of Southfield.


The congregation was founded in 1861, when the more traditional Jews of Detroit withdrew from Temple Beth El (Detroit, Michigan) .[1][2] Shaarey Zedek was a founding member of the Conservative United Synagogue of America in 1913. [3][4]

The, congregation worshipped in a building at the intersection of Congress and St. Antoine streets in Detroit from its foundation until 1877, when it was able to erect on the same site a new building, an elaborate Moorish Revival synagogue with tall, twin towers topped with Onion domes. It was the first purpose-built synagogue in the Detroit area and the first of no fewer than five synagogue buildings that the congregation would build within the space of a century. In 1903 the members having moved to a more fashionable neighborhood, the congregation erected a new building topped with an octagonal dome at the intersection of Winder and Brush streets. In 1913 Shaarey Zedek, again following its increasingly prosperous congregants, moved into a spacious, new, domed Neo-classical synagogue building at Willis and Brush street where it would remain until 1930. In 1932, the congregation, again following the movement of the congregants to a more suburban location, completed yet another new building, a Romanesque Revival sanctuary at 2900 West Chicago Boulevard at Lawton Street, designed by the noted architect Albert Kahn.[5][2] The building is now the home of the Clinton Street Greater Bethlehem Temple Church [1] In 1962 the congregation moved to its present building on Bell Road in suburban Southfield.[4][6]

The congregation's present, Southfield building was designed by Percival Goodman. Henry Stoltzman writes that it "embod(ies) Goodman's work at the peak of his career." [4] The San Francisco Examiner has named the building one of the "top 10 breathtaking places of worship" in the United States. The Examiner called the congregation's dramatic concrete building a "phenomenal example of 1960’s futuristic architecture." [7]

In the early 1990's, Congregation Shaarey Zedek merged with Congregation B'nai Israel of West Bloomfield, the combined congregations worship in both locations.[2]

Notable members

External links


  1. Olitzky, Kerry M.; Raphael, Marc Lee. The American Synagogue: A Historical Dictionary and Sourcebook, Greenwood Press, June 30, 1996, p. 178.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Our Congregational Family / History, Shaarey Zedek website. Retrieved December 28, 2009.
  3. Eli Grad, Congregation Shaarey Zedek, 5622-5742, 1861-1981, Detroit, Michigan by Wayne State University Press, 1982.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Henry and Daniel Stoltzman, Synagogue Architecture in America; Path, Spirit, and Identity, images publishing, 2004, p. 188-91
  5. Harmony & dissonance: voices of Jewish identity in Detroit, 1914-1967, Sidney M. Bolkosky, Wayne State University Press, 1991, p. 229.
  6. Kerry M. Olitzky and Marc Lee Raphael, The American synagogue, p. 178-9.
  7. Jamie Sperti, "The United States' top 10 breathtaking places of worship, # 6", The Examiner, April 21, 2009.

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