Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Detroit's Jewish Presence and History Memorialized

The City of Detroit has a Jewish presence dating back to 1762.

As reported in the Detroit Free Press, this presence has now been memorialized with a historical marker on the shoreline near the Renaissance Center.

After more than 200 years, Chapman Abraham touched ground along the Detroit River once again on Monday.

This time, the fur trader who was Detroit's first Jewish settler arrived at Tri-Centennial State Park just east of the Renaissance Center in the form of a gold-and-green Michigan Historic Site marker that workers installed on the shoreline.

Come Sunday afternoon, a couple of costumed voyageurs will cruise up to the site in a canoe to illustrate what it might have looked like when Abraham landed in 1762.

"On Sunday, we're celebrating ways that the Jewish community has been active in Detroit," Ellen Cole, president of the Jewish Historical Society of Michigan, said as she prepared for the events that are expected to draw hundreds of people to the riverfront.

On the other side of the marker that honors Chapman Abraham there's a description of the Jewish families who sent men to serve in the Civil War, Cole said.

Impressively, as reported in the article, Jews from Detroit disproportionately contributed soldiers to the Union cause in the civil war, with 150 families sending 188 men.

An interesting story of historical interest well reported by the Detroit Free Press.

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