T'chiyah means "renaissance" in Hebrew. Congregation T'chiyah was founded in 1977 in the City of Detroit and was part of the Renaissance of the urban center. The group was formed from a chavurah (circle of friends), which met monthly in members' homes. Early on we rented space in the St. Mary's Community Center located in Greektown near the site of the first Jewish religious services in Detroit.
When the havurah learned that the city was going to tear down the building that had once been Mogain Abraham and was known as the Farnsworth Street Shul they decided to save the contents. Although the building had been used as a Baptist church for decades some of its contents still reflected its Jewish origin.
In May 1996, the congregation left the St. Mary's site and met briefly in the Wayne State University area before settling into its next meeting place, the Royal Oak Woman's Club on Fourth and Pleasant Streets (the oldest building in Royal Oak). On June 13, 2004, we moved into our beautiful new home: The David and Miriam Mondry Building in Oak Park on the JCC campus.
For the first years of T'chiyah's history, we were led by our own membership. As our congregation grew in size we were joined by visiting rabbis, rabbinical students and scholars. Student rabbis over the years have included Toba Spitzer, Michael Cohen, Amber Powers, Steve Gutow, Murray Silberman, Jordi Gendra, and Donna Kirschbaum. We have been fortunate to welcome into our kehillah (community) such notable guest rabbis as Rabbi David Teutsch, Rabbi Daniel Brenner, Rabbi Debrah Cohen, Rabbi Mordechai Leibling, and Rabbi Steve Gutow.
On August 1, 2008, Rabbi Jason Miller became our first rabbi. Rabbi Miller, a native of the Metro Detroit Jewish community, brought new programming and more learning opportunities to our congregational family. Our Shabbat services, which are both spiritual and reflective, are a shared endeavor between our rabbi and our membership.
In the summer of 2012, we engaged a long-time national Reconstructionist leader, Rabbi Shawn Zevit, as our visiting rabbi for the 2012-13 year. It was a memorable year in which Rabbi Zevit's monthly visits inspired the congregation with Shabbat and holiday services, special events, Tikkun Olam and social justice activities, learning opportunities, and much more.
During the 2013-2014 year, our services were lay led. After an extensive search, we were thrilled to hire Rabbi Alana Alpert. She and her partner Justin moved to Detroit during the summer of 2014. Rabbi Alana is excited to bring her passion, knowledge and skills, at the same time that she is deeply committed to maintaining and growing the culture of lay-leadership that makes T'chiyah so special.