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Leonard J. Simmons Jewish Community Archives

History in the Making

About the Archives

The Leonard N. Simons Jewish Community Archives was established in 1991 as a Federation department. We’re here to collect, preserve and share the records of Federation and our member agencies, the United Jewish Foundation, local Jewish community organizations and the personal and family papers of Detroit’s Jewry.

Our vast collection includes manuscripts, photographs, videos, an oral history section, artifacts, and a comprehensive cemetery burial index. Dive in. You never know what (or who!) you’ll find.

Collection Finding Aids

A Finding Aid is a document containing detailed, indexed and processed information about a specific collection of records within an archive. Finding aids are available for our collections and are linked below. In some cases, a collection that doesn’t currently have a finding aid may still be open to researchers. These collections are also listed. If a finding aid is not available for a collection you’re interested in seeing, please contact the archivist for more information. Please remember that our collections are housed in two different locations. If you’re planning to schedule a visit and are unsure where a collection is housed, please contact Robbie Terman at terman@jfmd.org.

Explore Our Finding Aids

Digital Collections

The Leonard N. Simons Jewish Community Archives holds more than two million documents, 25,000 photographs and 100 oral history interviews. We’re working to digitize our photo collection and publish finding aids for the entire archive. Today, our digital collection is a small but growing representation of our entire collection. So if you don’t find what you’re looking for, please contact us.

Visit the Online Database

Oral History Archives

The oral history collection of the Leonard N. Simons Jewish Community Archives seeks to tell the history of Jewish Detroit through the recollection of those who lived it.

Hear Their Stories

Friends of the Leonard N. Simons Jewish Community Archives

For 25 years, the Leonard N. Simons Jewish Community Archives has collected, preserved, and shared the records of Detroit’s Jewish community. Our vast collection includes more than 2 million documents, 25,000 photographs, and 100 oral history interviews.

Have you ever wondered what an archivist does? How an archive collects and organizes thousands of feet of historical documents? Have you ever wanted a peak at collections that are rarely seen by the public? By becoming a “Friend,” you will receive membership benefits such as behind-the-scenes tours of archival repositories and museum, invitations to programs, and lectures.

Become a Friend of the Archives

The Irwin I. Cohn Jewish Cemetery Index

The Irwin I. Cohn Michigan Jewish Cemetery Index aims to record every Jewish burial in Metro Detroit.

The cemetery index was initiated in 1993 with the goal of constructing a master database with a record for every burial in Metro Detroit’s Jewish cemeteries, from the earliest recorded information to the present.

The bulk of the records are for individuals who died between the mid-1800s to 1999. We are currently working to update the records and are continuously adding to the database.

View the Index

Upcoming Events

There are no upcoming events at this time, but please check out the rest of our events.

Contact us for more Information

You Matter.

The help we provide to the Jewish community in Detroit, in Israel and around the world is not possible without your support. Choose your level of impact…