Our History

/Our History
Our History 2018-07-02T08:57:51+00:00

Temple Emanu-El was founded in 1952 to meet the growing needs of the Jewish community in Oak Park, Huntington Woods and other (then) northern suburbs of Detroit. Called the Suburban Temple of Greater Detroit, it held its first service for its 100 families on January 18, 1952 at Burton School in Huntington Woods. The first High Holiday services were held later that year at the First Methodist Church of Royal Oak, with parking provided by St. Mary’s Church of Royal Oak– the first inter-faith project in the area. Within its first year, the congregation grew to almost 300 families under the leadership of Rabbi Frank Rosenthal, z’l . Our membership continues to include founding members, as well as their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

The cornerstone for our building was laid on October 2, 1955, with its final dedication in 1957 under the direction of its new rabbi, Milton Rosenbaum, z’l, who was installed the year before, and who served Temple Emanu-El as Rabbi, and then Rabbi Emeritus, for more than 40 years. In 1981 Rabbi Lane Steinger, Associate Rabbi for five years succeeded Rabbi Rosenbaum. Joseph Klein became our Rabbi in 1997 and then Rabbi Emeritus in 2013, Arturo Kalfus served as our Rabbi from 2013-2018.

Our first Cantor, Norman Rose, z’l, joined us in 1972 and served us more than 40 years. Darcie Sharlein became our second Cantor, serving from 2008 to 2012.

Rabbi Matthew J. Zerwekh joined us in 2018 and Kelly Onickel serves as our Cantorial Soloist.