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July 25, 2013 - Image 26

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2013-07-25

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Synagogue Refresh

The Downtown Synagogue is seeing results from its 'Make It History' campaign.

The dated and dingy
bathroom at the IADS
was transformed — and
another added.

The back of the building gets
a new look after the graffiti is


Jackie Headapohl

Managing Editor


hanks to the success
of the crowd-funding
"Make it History" cam-
paign, which raised more than
$120,000 for capital improvements, con-
gregants at the Isaac Agree Downtown
Synagogue in Detroit are enjoying not
just one — but two new bathrooms.
The four-story building, located
Downtown on Griswold Street, has been
around since 1921. And up until very
recently, it had only one functioning
bathroom for its more than 300 congre-
gation members.
"It was not ADA-compliant. The
equipment was old and kind of gross.
The walls were a crazy color and had
crazy decorations;' said Anna Kohn,
director of the synagogue. "Part of what
we wanted to do with 'Make It History'
was show some tangible progress of
what we are really doing with the syna-
gogue. We wanted to make sure the
bathroom was one of the first things we
showed to the people who joined our
The synagogue, which has become a
hub for Jewish life in the city, features

26 July 25 • 2013

Friday evening and Saturday morning
services, Torah studies, Hebrew lessons
and a plethora of other programming.
Its "Make It History" campaign con-
cluded successfully in April.
Now, the synagogue can boast two
state-of-the-art bathrooms that meet all
safety and code regulations.
"Only at the Downtown synagogue
would people get this excited about a
new bathroom, and we love it!" Kohn
That's not the only improvement in
the building. Graffiti was removed from
the back of the building, and the syna-
gogue also has a shiny new bike rack.
Next on the agenda is a new fire
escape, which will open up the top
floors of the building to public use.
"We are in the process of deciding on
an architectural firm to help us with the
designs;' said Leor Barak, synagogue
Other improvements to be made with

funds from the campaign are enhance-
ments to the building's kitchen and
"The funds have allowed us to make
critical repairs to our historic building.
It also lays the groundwork for a full
renovation in coming years to provide
a vibrant, inclusive, multi-faceted
Jewish space in Downtown Detroit;'
Barak added.

A look at the new bike rack the week
before it was installed outside.

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