Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue Renovation Construction Begins

To celebrate this new chapter, the Downtown Synagogue will be hosting a free block party in Detroit on Griswold Street Sunday, Aug. 14. 

The Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue (IADS) has officially started construction on a
$5 million transformational building renovation project. To celebrate its 100th anniversary, the Downtown Synagogue wanted to upgrade its space to make it more welcoming and accessible for Jewish Detroiters. 

“The Downtown Synagogue is grateful to all those who have helped sustain us for the past 100 years, and we’re excited to continue to be a part of Jewish Detroit for the next 100. We are thrilled to be able to be even more welcoming, accessible, intergenerational and committed to Jewish values and education in this next chapter,” said IADS Board President Samantha Woll. 

Every part of the building will be renovated. The Downtown Synagogue will be trading ground-floor brick walls for floor-to-ceiling glass windows and will be installing a new ADA-compliant elevator.

It will also be upgrading its sanctuary, social hall and kitchen, and will have a dedicated space for children and flexible programs and events. 

“Our third floor is becoming a Jewish co-working space where we’re inviting partner organizations to collaborate and share resources and really build community under one roof,” said Rachel Rudman, executive director of Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue. 

The Reimagining the Downtown Synagogue Capital Campaign is helping to bring this project to life. The campaign originally started with a $5 million goal, which was met, but due to the rise in construction costs an additional $1.4 million is needed. 

“The Reimagining the Downtown Synagogue campaign is about envisioning a space that serves the diverse needs of the burgeoning Jewish Detroit population and — at the same time — serves as a hub for the broader Jewish community that’s keen on reengaging the city,” said Vadim Avshalumov, immediate past president and co-chair of the Building Renovation Committee.

“It’s going to become a key institution for our Jewish community, and we’re counting on a spectrum of Jewish folks to help fund this vision. Whether it’s $18 or $18,000, we’re hoping the community helps close our campaign gap.”

With generous help of a $350,000 grant expansion from one of its largest donors, the William Davidson Foundation, Rudman says they are on track to raise additional funds yet remain about $230,000 short of their goal.

To invest in the Reimagining the Downtown Synagogue Capital Campaign, Rudman says you can help by leaving a permanent mark on the building.

“We are offering this chance to invest in the Downtown Synagogue’s future with our capital campaign. For $10,000, your family’s or your name will forever be associated with one of the iconic stained-glass windows, and you can really be part of the building of our vibrant future.”

To celebrate this new chapter, the Downtown Synagogue will be hosting a free block party
in Detroit on Griswold Street Sunday, Aug. 14. The transformational building renovation project is expected to finish in February 2023. 

For more information and to donate, contact Rachel Rudman at or (313) 962-4047. To RSVP to the block party, visit

By Rachel Sweet