About Us

It’s a remarkable story of courage, foresight and extraordinary lives…

From the arrival of the first Jewish fur trader in 1761 to the valorous role of Jewish soldiers in the Civil War… from the great immigrations of the early 1900s to the Great Depression of the 1930s… from the efforts of Michigan volunteers on behalf of a newly created Jewish State in 1948 to the creation of institutions that serve the entire community. It’s the story of Michigan Jewry’s contributions to the American experience.

Who will pass it on?

The Jewish Historical Society of Michigan (JHSM) was founded in 1959 to preserve and commemorate our past for future generations. The only volunteer organization dedicated exclusively to this purpose, the Society has amassed a storehouse of information about the events, traditions and lives of Jewish people throughout the state. Over the years, the JHSM has documented hundreds of Jewish contributions to the arts, science, politics, business, education and social services.

How does the JHS of Michigan tell our story?

Michigan Jewish History is the longest continuously published journal of local Jewish history in North America and is carried in libraries and universities throughout the world. Subjects covered in the JHSM’s annual publication range from Jewish pioneers and personalities to events that have impacted Jewish life in our state and beyond. A separate volume indexes the hundreds of articles printed in the journal over more than four decades.

Tours of notable sites make Michigan Jewish History a personal adventure for individuals and families. JHS-sponsored groups visit “the old Jewish neighborhoods” of Detroit, as well as museums and places of Jewish interest across the state. In cooperation with other historical and preservation groups, the Society offers trips with a special focus, including tours of buildings designed by architect Albert Kahn and the Ezekiel Solomon house at Fort Michilimackinac.

Programs, lectures and exhibits are an important part of JHS outreach to the community – whether through sole sponsorship or in partnership with other groups, such as the Detroit Historical Museum. Many of the Society’s activities are arranged in cooperation with the Leonard N. Simons Jewish Community Archives of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit.