During this time of global pandemic, I’ve found that it’s really important to me to find positives in this time of unknown and a lot of fear. And I’m in the belly of the beast: Detroit is turning out to be an epicenter.
So – how to hold onto the lifeline of calm and centeredness through it all? It’s those positives – the silver linings – that keep me feeling good through this time.
One thing that I love is my daily walks. I’m of course working from home these days, so I go out on walks after work is over and keep walking until dark. Sometimes after dark.
I live in the New Center neighborhood of Detroit and love it. My walks take me out to all directions around the city. As an archivist and a history-head, I love to pay attention to all sorts of cues the various neighborhoods, blocks, and buildings tell me.
My neighborhood from the 1930s to the 1960s was the heart of Jewish Detroit. My walks take me past buildings that speak to a vibrant and large Jewish community through the blocks.
I have found buildings that are very clearly synagogues, but there are also discoveries of buildings that have had their Hebrew letters muted by signs posted over them – or even, in some cases, putting concrete over them. I have found temples as well as community centers and schools.
Walking past these buildings – “finding” them (on a personal level) has been so deeply interesting to me. Detroit’s Jewish history is similar to that of other Midwestern cities and towns. But of course each community’s sets of stories are individual and unique.
My walks through this time of pandemic have allowed me to reach back into the past, learn more about where I live, and learn more about what it is now.
A silver lining indeed.
Jewish Virtual Library: Detroit, Michigan – https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/detroit-jewish-history-tour#1915.
“See What ‘Pops Up’ in Jewish Detroit History”, by Robbie Terman, MyJewishDetroit – https://myjewishdetroit.org/2016/01/see-what-pops-up-in-the-history-of-jewish-detroit/.
“Finding Aids”, Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit – https://jewishdetroit.org/finding-aids/.
“Bethel Community Transformation Center”, HistoricDetroit.org – https://historicdetroit.org/buildings/bethel-community-transformation-center.
Cleveland Jewish History – https://www.clevelandjewishhistory.net/.
“A History Snapshot”, The Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest – http://www.jhsum.org/2013/01/a-history-snapshot/.
Indiana Jewish Historical Society – http://www.ijhs.org/.