August 3, 2011
Drive aiming to attract young Jews to Detroit
The Detroit Jewish community is launching a nationwide campaign to raise money to bring 25 young Jews to live in the city.
Do It for Detroit is hosting events through August held by Detroit residents and former residents, as well as supporters in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago, to raise $100,000 to revitalize the Michigan city’s Jewish community. A program of the Jewish Federation of Metro Detroit, it will offer subsidies of $3,000 a year to live in the city, and the recipient will host at least one community event a month to help strengthen the Jewish and Detroit-area communities.
The first event will take place Wednesday at a high school softball field in suburban Detroit, followed the next day by a fundraiser in Chicago by ex-Detroiters. Charity kickball tournaments in Los Angeles and baseball events in New York also are planned.
The effort is part of a larger campaign to attract young people back to Detroit, which despite a growing cultural life has been suffering a brain drain due to Michigan’s high unemployment.
Detroit once was a major Jewish hub, with 44 synagogues and a rich cultural life. Now only one synagogue remains there—the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue.
As the city declined, most of the Jewish population moved to the northern suburbs. A study conducted by the Jewish Federation of Metro Detroit found that 72,000 Jews live in Oakland, Wayne and Macomb counties, making the area the 21st largest Jewish community in the United States.
If the money is raised, the program will start accepting applications in October. As of Wednesday morning, the campaign had raised $9,702.