Wednesday, July 25, 2012
About Stoliner Chassidim and shtieblach in Detroit, תובב"א
Beth Aron V'Yisroel shul at 2567 Elmhurst at Linwood (Detroit)
Received via email:
Tzig, I read your post from years ago regarding the Stoliner shuls in Detroit and what has become of them, and here's some additional information:
First a bit about Stoliner chassidim in Detroit. The Rebbe Reb Yisroel Perlow ZY”A, known as the Yenuka, started sending chassidim to the US as early as 1880. Detroit was favored over other areas because it was easier to get jobs that did not require one to work on Shabbos. Stoliners organized a minyan/shul as early as 1905 in Detroit and one of the Rabbonim who served as Rov in their shul was Rabbi Yitzchak (Isaac) Stollman z”l. Reb Mendel Zeilingold (a Stoliner from Lutzk, who later lived in New York and then Yerushalayim) said over that the Yenuka once said; ווען מיר וואלטען געווען מיט צעהן יאהר יונגער וואלטין מיר געמאכט א נסיעה קיין דיטרויט". They say that at the turn of the century there were around 100 Stoliner chassidim in Detroit. The shul that you wrote about in the 2006 post was built by the chassidim themselves. Mr. Tzvi Strom is an einikel of Mrs. Chava Wainer, in whose house the “Detroiter” Rebbe was niftar. He remembers pounding nails into the floor boards on his way home after school in the ‘30s. That neighborhood in Detroit started going downhill in the 50’s. The decline was swift. Many of the older chassidim had died out and the younger crowd joined Young Israel etc. Few were left to care for the shul and the “chelka”, the cemetery area where the Rebbe is buried. Some say that the previous Rebbe, Reb Yochanan “shtelled avek" one memuneh to make sure that the shul would not be sold, or one version is, that it should not be sold to a church.
That story goes on to say that this man worked all the time to ensure this, He put clauses into the shul documents etc. But he was once hospitalized for a short period of time and came out to find out that it was too late. I also heard from an older chossid that the Stoliners would come every year and work on eitzos to keep the shul up and running. He said that there was a law at the time that a store within 2 blocks of a church, (not a shul) could not sell liquor. So there was one store 1 block away and another 2 and ½ blocks away. The chevreh went to the farther store and told him that the synagogue is costing a lot to maintain and it might end up being a church (which is what happened to many other shuls in the area), and that would result in the other, closer store being allowed to sell liquor and him needing to shut his store. The proprietor got very nervous and asked what he can do to help? The chassidim told him that if he helps pay for the maintenance of the shul then they won't need to sell it. The guy helped them out financially for a few years. Sadly, later on the Yeshiva in Boro Park received a phone call from the Detroiters that they are sending a large amount of cash for the Yeshiva. They immediately understood what happened, and they dispatched 2 or 3 people to Detroit and tried to “handel” with the buyer. They even offered him twice the amount that he had paid for it but to no avail. The buyer, though, was some sort of Boy Scout organization or something similar. It was not sold directly to a church. Brokenhearted the chassidim returned to New York. Either way, to say that the Stoliners SOLD the shul, and to a church nuch dertzu, is a fabrication.
Research is currently being conducted to try and find out more about the chassidim of that era, in Detroit and other areas across the USA. Anybody with information is asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org.