Detroit, MI: High Ideals, Wholesome Living

Our Communities: Known for its chinuch al taharas hakodesh and an affordable housing market, the anash community of Detroit, MI values high chassidishe standards over ‘luxury living’.

By writer

Stop a random American on the street and ask them to share their knowledge of Detroit. They might tell you about someone famous who was born there, or that it’s the only major American city north of Canada. They may chuckle as they recall learning that most illegal liquor during Prohibition was smuggled in through this city, and their answer will probably mention cars, too. 

But for anash in the Oak Park neighborhood, the question stirs up a different kind of pride. This community is famous for chinuch al taharas hakodesh, and for its deep hiskashrus and commitment to the Rebbe’s inyanim. They may be living in the motor city, but these unassuming families don’t think much about their cars – they opt for the simplest one that fits their purpose. And while you’ll find mashke in the sacred walls of this community, it has a purpose, too – drink a little, farbreng a lot. 

“This is not a megushamdik community,” said Rabbi Levi Gordon, who serves as mashpia to the kehillah of Bais Chabad North Oak Park. “There is a shtetl-like feel. Children spend their free time involved in chassidishe activities, and there are many shiurim and farbrengens for adults. The emphasis here is on the purest chinuch, not on being modern and up to date.” 

Community members say that there is a special chinuch in Detroit that can’t be found anywhere else. Classes at the cheder are taught exclusively in yiddish, and there are only limudei kodesh for both boys and girls. Most importantly, there is a wholesomeness felt in the halls that comes from the children’s unparalleled purity and innocence. 

There is a high level of tznius, and the community norms in making simchos reflect clear priorities and strong chassidishe values. There’s no competition, no struggle to keep up with high standards of living; people are happy with simpler lives.

The cost of living is relatively low, and the housing market is among the cheapest in the country. Oak Park is a comfortable place to raise a family, and a safe one, too. Kids can walk to shul and to friends’ houses without feeling afraid.

As one native put it, “We don’t lock the bikes every time we come home. I can leave my carriage on the front porch, and while I may have to think about squirrels, I don’t worry about ganavim.” 

There is a large frum presence, with more than 1,500 shomrei shabbos families living in the area. It isn’t easy to find a strong yiddishe infrastructure in a safe, low-cost neighborhood, and locals are grateful for this combination.

“Within walking distance of my house, there are probably 20 or 30 shuls, and four Nusach Ari minyanim,” Rabbi Gordon said. “You benefit from the inspiration of living near a yeshiva, and from the chassidishe shluchim nearby. Where else can you find affordable housing in such a central and flourishing community?”

Community size: 100 Families

Mosdos and Amenities:

  • Main Anash Shul:
    • Bais Chabad of North Oak Park
  • Chabad Schools:
    • Lubavitch Cheder – boys and girls, preschool – 8th grade
    • Lubavitch Mesivta of Detroit
    • Chaya Mushka High School
    • Ganeinu Preschool (West Bloomfield)
  • Mikvaos: Chabad mikvaos in the area
  • Kosher Establishments:
    • One Stop – large kosher grocery, sells cholov yisroel and Lubavitch shechita products
    • Several kosher restaurants and Pas Yisroel bakeries in town
  • Oak Park Community leaders:
    • Rabbi Berel Shemtov – head shliach and founder of Chabad of Michigan
    • Rabbi Gershon Steinmetz – Moreh Hora’ah and rav of Bais Chabad of North Oak Park

Cost of Living:

  • Housing market (Zip Code 48237): 
    • Houses start at about $200k for 3 bedrooms; a larger, more updated home will cost on $300k – $350k on average.
    • Apartments average $800 a month for a 1 bedroom, $1000 for 2 bedrooms. Renting a home will cost between $1500 to $2000.
  • Parnassah:
    • Many anash are self-employed; there are some Lubavitch entrepreneurs who hire others.
    • There are opportunities in klei kodesh such as teaching in the cheder

Nearby Anash communities: Toronto – 4-hour drive ; Chicago – 5-hour drive

Want to further explore this community? Reach out to Rabbi Levi Gordon at (917)-770-4770.


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