We are extremely successful in attracting unaffiliated young Jewish adults, a group that has been underserved in Metro Detroit: Approximately 50% of our Board members and committee chairs are under the age of 40 and many live in the City of Detroit.
We hired professional staff, starting in 2012, with generous grants from the Berman Foundation, The Jewish Fund, and the William Davidson Foundation, including an executive director, program coordinator, office staff and in 2016, our first rabbi in more than 16 years. During that time there has been a major increase in new visitors–welcoming over 6000 people in 2016. Detroiters, suburbanites, tourists–Jews and non-Jews of all ages, particularly a high percentage of young adults–have visited IADS since 2012 for worship services, holiday celebrations, concerts, Lunch & Learns, dance parties, Rosh Chodesh groups, book clubs, educational programs, and community service projects.
Over the past fours years, our membership has grown to approximately 300 household units, thousands of visitors enjoyed our programs and services, and 400-500 people attend our annual free High Holy Day observances.
In April 2013 we completed our largest fundraiser in history, raising $150,000 in just 30 days from over 700 donors through our “Make It History” crowd funding campaign (surpassing our goal of $120,000). This allowed us to add two bathrooms, a bike rack, renovate our kitchen, replace the fire escape (completion expected in late 2017) and begin planning for a comprehensive building renovation.
We are making progress on our current Strategic Plan which laid out the following goals: (1) broaden our spiritual and ritual practices, while honoring and building on our traditional history; (2) strengthen our social justice (Tzedek Detroit) focus, applying those values to our internal operations as well as to programs and activities; (3) continue to develop strong staff and lay leadership in order to expand programs, membership, and outreach; (4) renovate our building to accommodate growth and reflect our identity. Click here for the recently completed plans for our building renovation.
The Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue has received significant press coverage including:
Hour Detroit Magazine
Rebuilding the Bridges Between Detroit's Jewish and African-American Worshippers
Detroit Free Press
Detroit veterans, seniors enjoy the holiday haircuts
Homeless Detroit men treated to free shave, haircut
Detroit synagogue gets first rabbi in 16 years
Detroit synagogue appoints executive director
Detroit Synagogue Relies On Crowd-Sourcing For Building Renovation Campaign (VIDEO)
Detroit Synagogue Sparks Resurgence Of Downtown Jewish Life
Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue, Detroit’s last freestanding one, launches fundraising campaign
Detroit Jewish News
The Downtown Synagogue's Torah scrolls take a ride up Woodward Avenue
Fred and Arlene Frank each lead a local synagogue
Dancing In The D: Downtown Synagogue Holds A Festive Simchat Torah Service WDET
Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue Set For Renovation
Christian and Congregations Come Together in Historic Place of Worship
Downtown Synagogue launches crowdfunding campaign to keep its programming free
Downtown Synagogue to begin renovations with grant money
Young, diverse, and full of moxie, Detroit’s Jewish community is making a comeback
Faithfully theirs: Young Jewish Detroiters engage community life, embrace urban identity
Downtown synagogue hires rabbi, plans major renovations
Urban Innovation Exchange
My Jewish Detroit
Motor City Synagogue: Let there be Lights, Shabbat and Parties
Downtown Synagogue to Bring High Holy Day Services Back to Historic Beth El Building
A Free Haircut And A Little Joy and Dignity at the Downtown Synagogue
Documentary: A Detroit Garden Bring Blacks and Jews Together
Downtown Synagogue to Host High Holiday in Detroit; First Time in 20 Years
Jewish life in Detroit isn’t dead. In fact, it’s having a hipster rebirth
Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue Building starts power washing, facade improvements
We have collaborated with many other organizations including PresenTense, NextGen, Hillel of Metro Detroit, Moishe House, JTot, Jewish Historical Society of Michigan, Riverfront East Congregational Initiative, Detroit Jews for Justice, Repair the World, Hazon, Cohn-Haddow, Chabad, Detroit Interfaith Outreach Network, Reconstructionist Congregation of Detroit, and BBYO, in addition to developing exciting partnerships with other synagogues, houses of worship, and community organizations.
Many local and national tours visit our iconic, historic building and it’s been photographed extensively for a variety of publications.
We have shared many simchas together, including baby namings, b’nai mitzvah, conversion ceremonies, auf ruf celebrations, and weddings.