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 Solomon, a native of Berlin, Germany, who had served with the British army, arrived at Michilimackinac in the summer of 1761. He is Michigan’s first known resident of the Jewish faith.
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 known then as “The Champlain Street Cemetery of Temple Beth El” because Lafayette was formerly Champlain Street.