Spotlighting a community's Jewish history enables family history researchers of that locality to understand their ancestors' experience, both as immigrants and contributors to that unique history.
The Jewish Genealogical Society of Michigan will host Irwin Cohen (known as Mr. Baseball) in "The Jewish Experience in Detroit," at 1.30pm, Sunday, March 9.
A native Detroiter, Cohen is a historian, writer and lecturer. His books include "Echoes of Detroit: a 300 Year History, "Echoes of Detroit's Jewish Communities", and "Tiger Stadium - Images of Baseball"
He'll speak about his research, his employment with the Detroit Tigers, Jewish Detroiters who shaped the community and those who are making a new Detroit, among other topics.
The meeting will be at the Detroit Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills. There is no fee for JGSMI members; guests, $5. For more information, click here.
In May 2007, Detroit's first Jewish settler was remembered in stories in the Detroit Jewish News and the Detroit Free Press. It covered both pioneer Chapman Abraham and local boys serving in the Civil War. Tracing the Tribe's May 1 posting provided links to both stories which unfortunately are no longer live. However, some judicious googling will provide links to Detroit's early Jewish history.
Fur trader Chapman Abraham landed in Detroit in 1762; a Detroit River shoreline marker now commemorates the event.
The other side of the marker remembers the Detroit Jewish families who sent men to the Civil War in the 1860s; 150 Jewish families sent 181 men, 38 of whom died.
Michigan's first Jewish settler was another fur trader, Ezekiel Solomon, who moved to the Mackinac area in 1761.
According to the story, the early Jewish families made great sacrifices to settle in Michigan. Abraham's synagogue was in Montreal and, each year for the high holidays, he traveled 75 miles each way - by canoe - to worship with his congregation.