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Downtown Synagogue launches crowdfunding campaign to keep its programming free

Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue

The Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue, Detroit's last free-standing synagogue, has been an important fixture of the city for nearly 100 years. Since opening it's doors in 1921, the synagogue has held free Shabbat and High Holiday Day services, and free membership to its congregants. And it's looking to continue those important traditions.

That's why the Downtown Synagogue has launched its inaugural "Keep It Free!" campaign, hoping to raise $100,000. In the past, the synagogue has remained open through foundation grants, but is looking to switch to an annual campaign drive funding model. 

"We are really excited to be altering our funding model to match how we exist in the community," said Oren Goldenberg, chair of the synagogue's fundraising committee and member of the board of directors, in a press release. "We have always been a place that is open to the larger community, beyond those who worship with us. This movement towards an annual campaign allows everyone who touches the synagogue to be a supporter in its sustainability."

As recently as 2008, the Downtown Synagogue was in a desperate situation. With an annual budget of $12,000, it was close to closing. Since then, the synagogue has continued to grow in both budget and scope, employing a rabbi, executive director, and programming director, and helping to run an urban garden on the east side, Eden Gardens Block Club. 

The synagogue also throws legendary dance parties several times a year that are free to the public. 

"'Keep it Free!' is a reflection of the Downtown Synagogue's commitment to remaining a primary resource for the metropolitan Detroit Jewish community and the community at-large," said Rabbi Ariana Silverman, in a press release. "Our plan to keep access to our programs free of cost underscores our belief that we have an obligation to make a difference for all Detroiters."

You can donate to the Downtown Synagogue's "Keep It Free" campaign here
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