Congregation Shaarey Zadek

Photograph courtesy of the Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University

1925Drivers along Northwestern Highway in Southfield can’t miss Congregation Shaarey Zedek, with its concrete-and-stained-glass apex jutting dramatically heavenward. The name translates to “gates of righteousness” or “gates of justice” from the Hebrew. Built in 1962 by Percival Goodman, the synagogue is an architectural marvel of mid-century style. But it’s only the latest of seven buildings for Detroit’s oldest Conservative Jewish congregation, which began in 1861. Its first building was at Congress and St. Antoine, in downtown Detroit. Other locations followed, including this neoclassical- and Romanesque-influenced building at Willis and Brush. At the time of this circa-1925 photo, just a few more years remained before another move, to temporary quarters in 1930, and then to Chicago Boulevard and Lawton, which would be Shaarey Zedek’s home from 1932-1962. In a sense, there are actually eight buildings in the congregation’s history. In the early ’90s, a merger with B’nai Israel created the Shaarey Zedek B’nai Israel Center in West Bloomfield Township.