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Located on Northwestern Highway
at 12 Mile Rd.
oung Israel of Oak-Woods
and Young Israel of
Greenfield have quietly
opened discussions to con-
sider a merger of the two con-
The two Orthodox synagogues
are 1 1/2 miles apart in Oak
Park. Oak-Woods is located on
Coolidge, north of the Oak Park
City Hall. YI-Greenfield is on Ten
Mile, west of the Jewish Federa-
tion Apartments and the Jewish
"We are getting few new mem-
bers, and the older members are
leaving or dying," said David
Tanzman, president of Oak-
He said the two congregations
shared programming in the 1970s,
and the merger discussions grew
out of proposals that the two again
work on joint events.
Oak-Woods is the first suburban
Orthodox congregation in the Unit-
ed States. It began meeting in
homes in the area of Coolidge and
9 1/2 Mile in 1950, and the syna-
gogue was built in 1954.
Mr. Tanzman, who has lived in
Oak Park for 38 years, believes the
congregation had a peak member-
ship of 200-250 in the 1970s. He
said the present membership is
about 70, which includes 42-45
Oak-Woods has a sanctuary, so-
cial hall and offices on its main
floor, and about 10 classrooms on
its second floor.
Oak-Woods' classroom space has
been leased for the past six years
to the Deror Montessori School.
The synagogue has no mortgage.
Young Israel of Greenfield is
the second of four Young Israel
congregations in the Detroit area.
It has about 160 members and
was founded in Oak Park in 1958.
Young Israel is a national, Zion-
ist, modern-Orthodox movement.
YI-Greenfield President Dr.
Steven Tennenberg was reluctant
to discuss the possible merger. He
said, "We've kept this on the qui-
et side to see where the two parties
felt they were. Our boards are
aware of what is going on, but we
have not been as formal as Oak-
Woods has been."
Dr. Tennenberg said his con-
gregation did not want to stir con-
cerns before talks had even begun.
Mr. Tanzman said the merger
idea was presented to Oak-Woods'
executive committee, and placed
before the Oak-Woods board Dec.
10. The board voted 13-1 to pursue
"We did not want to go forward
unless we had a consensus," Mr.
Small committees from the
two congregations were trying to
schedule a meeting this week to
begin merger discussions.