oung Israel of Southfield’s inception was in 1971, when a group of friends formed a weekly minyan, meeting in a rotating cycle of their respective homes.
Eventually, the minyan took up residence at Leonard Elementary School and then at Stevenson Elementary School. After six years, a house standing on the current Shul property became the next davening site. Rabbi Samuel Prero ע״ה and president Abe Selesny ע״ה were the congregation’s first leaders.
The shul received its official Young Israel charter in June 1973. When it became apparent that the house would not suffice, the 17 member families, under the guidance of building committee chairs Bernard Dach and Dr. Larry Loewenthal, raised money to begin design and construction of a new building, which was dedicated in 1977.
In 1983, the Shul hired its first permanent, full-time rabbi, Elimelech Goldberg. Rabbi Goldberg had received semicha and a BA from Yeshiva University.
By the end of the 1980s, frequent discussions of enlarging the shul reached the action stage. The congregation added a multipurpose room to the north end of the building. Stephen Levitz ע״ה oversaw construction and donated many of the building materials. After his untimely death, the addition was dedicated in his memory. Moshe Weiss donated the Aron Kodesh to the Beit Midrash.
In 1990, Dr. Jeffrey Goldenberg was tapped to head a campaing to raise funds for a new Sefer Torah. On September 9, in time for Rosh Hashana, the Sefer Torah was carried joyously from the home of Zipporah and Ira ע״ה Winkler to the Shul.
Erwin Posner and his sons soon started a Shabbat morning minyan at the Prentis Manor nursing home. When the minyan began, the minyan met every other week. The minyan later became weekly after Bob Weiss organized four teams to daven at the nursing home on a weekly rotation. When Prentis Manor nursing home closed, it was replaced by an assisted living facility known as Elan Village, where Bob Torgow facilitated the minyan.
In addition to Rabbi Goldberg’s daily Daf Yomi shiurim and other classes, many other shiurim have been offered at YIS. The Jerome Kelman Memorial Fund supports annual lectures on the anniversary of the yahrzeit of this beloved member.
Several years ago, Rabbi Goldberg established a pilot project of his Kids Kicking Cancer program at Children’s Hospital of Detroit. Its success enabled replication of the program at other hospitals, and in 2002 Rabbi Goldberg left the pulpit to give primary attention to the KKC program. The Goldbergs continue to live in Southfield and daven at YIS.
Rabbi Yechiel Morris became the Mara D’Atra of Young Israel of Southfield in 2002. Rabbi Morris received semicha and a BA in psychology from Yeshiva University. He also spent two years studying in Israel at Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh.
In 2006 the shul purchased the property to the north of the building. The house that had stood on that property was demolished, and discussion is underway to decide how to put this adjoining land to best use.
In 2010, the Southfield Mikvah organization opened its Shabbat / Yomtov Mikvah located at Yeshivat Akiva.
hrough the devotion, energy, and generosity of our leaders and members, we find ourselves and our shul alive with activity, enthusiasm, and creativity.