In 1885, Congregation Beth El in Traverse City was formed. Traverse City’s early Jewish settlers came from Eastern Europe, largely from Russia and Poland.
Ezekiel Solomons, a native of Berlin who had served with the British army, arrived at Michilimackinac in September 1761. He is Michigan’s first-known Jewish resident.
Near this site, in 1850, a small group of German-Jewish immigrants gathered at the home of Isaac and Sarah Cozens and formed the Bet El Society. Here Marcus Cohen, a layman, conducted the first Jewish religious service in Detroit.
This half-acre cemetery, dedicated on January 1851, was first known as “The Champlain Street Cemetery of Temple Beth El,” before Champlain was renamed Lafayette.