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Adat Shalom’s History

Adat Shalom Synagogue is unique among major Jewish congregations, providing the full services and programming of a large congregation, along with the warmth and friendly atmosphere usually associated with smaller synagogues. An egalitarian congregation rooted in Torah, Adat Shalom Synagogue nurtures the joys of Jewish faith, tradition and community. Our congregation encourages and provides opportunities for life-long spiritual exploration, cultural growth, friendship and learning. A multigenerational congregation, we take a contemporary look at our congregants’ needs and priorities and offer a wide range of individual and family programming. While staunchly committed to Israel and Jews all over the world, we remain focused on our 1000 member families and how we can best be here for them.

Adat Shalom Synagogue began modestly in 1943 in order to serve the religious needs of the Jewish community in Northwest Detroit. Some 52 members formed the nucleus of a small neighborhood congregation and applied to the State of Michigan for a charter under the name “Northwest Hebrew Congregation.” The congregation joined United Synagogue of America in 1945, officially identifying with the Conservative Movement.

Membership grew dramatically, and the need for permanent quarters became evident. In 1945, a groundbreaking ceremony was held on Curtis Avenue for the initial wing of the synagogue. Within a year we had 400 member families and had already outgrown our school facilities and plans were made to establish a branch of The United Hebrew Schools within the new building. That same year the Synagogue purchased a 25-acre cemetery on Six Mile Road near Middlebelt in Livonia, now called Adat Shalom Memorial Park.

In 1946, Rabbi Jacob E. Segal was engaged as the synagogue’s first spiritual leader. Pavel Slavensky became our first permanent cantor, succeeded in 1949 by Cantor Nicholas Fenakel, who served as our cantor for 26 years. In 1951, a new name was selected for the congregation, Adas Shalom, “Congregation of Peace.” A new sanctuary was dedicated in 1952. Adat Shalom now truly anchored a Jewish neighborhood, while becoming a leader among congregations in the support of Israel.

Cantor Larry Vieder arrived on the scene in 1960 and undertook a unique program of youth involvement in the adult worship services. As Synagogue membership reached its capacity at the Curtis building and families were relocating northwest into the suburbs, the time came to move. In 1973, a new synagogue complex was built at Middlebelt and 13 Mile Roads in Farmington Hills and in keeping with the modern Sephardic pronunciation of Hebrew, Adas Shalom officially became Adat Shalom.

Rabbi Seymour Rosenbloom joined the synagogue in 1972 and guided the congregation through the growing pains of life in the suburbs. Rabbi Efry Spectre succeeded Rabbi Rosenbloom in 1978. A dramatic Ner Tamid Campaign successfully ended crippling bank obligations, and the synagogue was poised to grow dramatically. Executive Director Alan Yost headed the administrative department as membership climbed and many new programs were developed. Rabbi Elliot Pachter was hired in 1987 and served the synagogue for five years. In 1991 we welcomed Cantor Howard Glantz, and the following year Rabbi Daniel Nevins joined our Clergy.

In 1998, members of Congregation Beth Achim approved a merger with Adat Shalom Synagogue, along with the sale of its building to the United Jewish Foundation. Rabbi Herbert Yoskowitz joined the Adat Shalom clergy that year, followed by Rabbi Rachel Lawson Shere in 2004. Rabbi Aaron Bergman joined our clergy in 2008, becoming Mara d’Atra in 2009. Hazzan Daniel Gross joined our clergy in 2009. Now in 2018, Adat Shalom Synagogue celebrates its 75th anniversary. In 2021, Rabbi Daniel Horwitz and Rabbi Blair Nosanwisch, both natives of the Metro Detroit Jewish community, joined our clergy team. In March 2022, Michael Wolf assumed the position of Executive Director of our congregation taking over from Alan Yost, who retired after a 40+ year tenure at Adat Shalom.