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Shared Memories of Ahavath Zion
congregation built on the Eastside of Woodward and was here 1921-38. The
cornerstone is written in Hebrew with the letters corresponding to the Hebrew
year 5681 (1920-21). 2001 is 5761 for reference. At the time, this was a
vibrant Jewish neighborhood where members could walk to shul.The building
is called Ahavath Zion, "Love of Zion" reflecting the creation
of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. On the exterior are the usage of Hebrew,
Yiddish, and English languages. "Cong. Ahavath Zion" is written
in English to announce that it is located in an American city, yet, just
above the door, closer to the passing members, in Hebrew is a Yiddishized
"Cong. Ahavah Zion". The cornerstone is Hebrew for the year 5681.
With Jewish prosperity post war, native-born sons and daughters moved swiftly
from this area up to and beyond Seven Mile Road and West of Woodward Avenue.
Jewish hospital, shopping, The JCC, etc. moved so this orthodox building
had to be left behind too. It must be remembered that the orthodox care
to walk to shul on Shabbos, so when older members die out and younger ones
move away, the buildings are abandoned.
My maternal grandfather, Charles Gordon, spent almost every
day of his life during my memory (early 1930s to about 1940) in this synagogue
in prayer. He and his immediate family, wife, my mother and her brother
immigrated from Russian Poland, Lublin, in 1905. The lived in a two family
I believe at the corner of John R and Holbrook. My grandparents lived downstairs
and my father mother and sister and I lived upstairs until my mother died
in 1932. To the best of my recollection and in discussion with my sister
the congregation was almost entirely immigrant Jews from southeastern Poland
which when they immigrated was under Russian sovereignty. It was of course
an orthodox congregation but not Hassidim. It was a time when the men prayed
on the first floor and the women had to sit in the balcony.