History of Beth Achim Synagogue
HISTORY OF BETH ACHIM
- 1968: Congregation Ahavas Achim and Congregation Beth Aaron merged to become Congregation Beth Achim; Ahavas Achim’s Rabbi Milton Arm became Beth Achim’s first senior rabbi and, later, rabbi emeritus.
- Other clergy included Rabbis Martin Berman, Herbert Yoskowitz and Benjamin Gorrelick, Cantors Simon Bermanis and Max Shimansky and Reverend Joseph Baras.
- Beth Achim purchased property on W. 12 Mile Road in Southfield from the Northbrook Presbyterian Church.
- Originally called the “New Congregation,” after four months it changed the name to Beth Achim, meaning “House of Brothers.”
- Sanctuary was completed in 1973.
- Detroit’s Sephardic community at one point met in the chapel at Beth Achim.
- Beth Achim built the first mikvah in any synagogue affiliated with the Conservative movement.
- In June,1998 Beth Achim approved a merger with Adat Shalom Synagogue, with Yoskowitz becoming an Adat Shalom rabbi. The religious school became the Adat Shalom-Beth Achim Learning Community.
In 1999, the Beth Achim building was sold to the United Jewish Foundation (UJF), the banking and real estate arm of Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, which made it available to Akiva, who moved from a Lathrup Village location. In 2008, classrooms were added to the lower level.
Stained glass pieces in the main sanctuary of the former Beth Achim were created by Michigan-based stained glass artisan Vera Sattler. No stained glass artwork from the sanctuary will be destroyed.
The Five Books of Moses pieces are in the new beit midrash. Twelve Tribe stained glass ensemble from the ceiling of the former Beth Achim over the bimah hang as artwork in the new building’s main lobby.
Tall stained glass windows from shul walls, too large to display in the new facility, were professionally crated and are being held in an archive location with a plan for cleaning and storage during a search for an organization to give them a new home, ideally, another synagogue.