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Of Gilda Radner, Ivan Boesky, Boisterous Brisket and 9 Other Facts About Jewish Michigan

Boisterous Brisket: The Oprah Winfrey Show named Lisa C’s brisket as one of America’s best sandwiches in 2008. Image by courtesy of Zingerman’s Delicatessen

1) 82,270 Jews live in Michigan.

2) Michigan’s first Jewish settler was Ezekiel Solomon. A fur trader, he operated a general store during the Revolutionary War.

3) Montreal-born fur trader Chapman Abraham was Detroit’s first Jewish settler, arriving there in 1762.

4) Founded in 1885 in Traverse City, Congregation Beth El is Michigan’s oldest synagogue.

Comedian and actress Gilda Radner Image by Wikimedia Commons

5) Alderman Samuel Goldwater ran as the Democratic candidate for mayor of Detroit in 1895. He lost to the Republican candidate Hazen S. Pingree.

6) Edward Israel, son of the first Jewish settlers of Kalamazoo, died in 1881 at the age of 24 during the Lady Franklin Bay Polar Expedition.

7) Charles Lindbergh, one of the villains in Philip Roth’s “The Plot Against America” was born in Detroit in 1902.

8) Michigan Democratic U.S. Senator Senator Carl Levin was born in Detroit and attended Detroit Central High School.

9) Notorious insider trader Ivan Boesky, who was reputed to be the inspiration for the character of Gordon Gecko, played by Michael Douglas in “Wall Street,” attended the Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills and Mumford High School in Detroit.

10) Comedian and actress Gilda Radner was born in Detroit in 1946. Her father Herman ran the Seville Hotel.

11) In 2008, The Oprah Winfrey Show named Lisa C’s Boisterous Brisket as one of America’s best sandwiches.

12) Detroit Tigers’ manager Brad Ausmus coached the Israeli team in the World Baseball Classic.


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