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  • Marcus Weil (1829 - 1889)
    pg 36 Michigan Jewish History, Fall 2000, Jewish Historical SocietyBirth record: HBM 105, p. 16. (Error at bottom says he is son of Samuel Bek. That probably refers to record above for Joachim Bek.)
  • William Lansky (1866 - 1937)
  • Beth Israel Congregation, Ann Arbor.
    Osias Zwerdling (1878 - 1977)
    Ann Arbor Honors Its Leader Osias Zwerdling Acclaimed by Community on 70th Birthday Ann Arbor citizens, University of Michigan faculty members and students joined with members of his family to pay ho...
  • Jacob Weil (1827 - 1912)
    Trained and became rabbi after studying in Prague and Kaladay per pg 33 Michigan Jewish History, Fall 2000, Jewish Historical Society
  • Moses Weil (1824 - 1880)
    pg 36 Michigan Jewish History, Fall 2000, Jewish Historical Society

ANN ARBOR, city in Michigan, U.S. The present-day Jewish community of Ann Arbor – comprising over 3,000 family units in 2005 – traces its roots to the turn of the century with the arrival of the Lansky family in 1895 and Mr. Osias Zwerdling, furrier, in 1904. Although the Lanskys had heard that Jews had previously lived in the area, there were no signs of the existence of an earlier community. It was not until 1980 – with the serendipitous discovery of a tombstone, beautifully engraved in Hebrew script and dated 1858, and the efforts to determine its original resting place – that the picture of a viable Jewish life in Ann Arbor from the 1840s to the 1880s began to emerge. These first Jews of Ann Arbor, the Weils and their extended family members and friends, arrived from Bohemia and began their lives as farmers and peddlers, then traded furs and skins and finally opened a successful tannery business.

Encyclopedia Judaica: Ann Arbor, Michigan

Solomon Weil (1821-1891) was the first Bohemian Jew to come to Michigan. He was a native of Bohumileč near Čkyně, Bohemia, from which he emigrated in 1843, settling in Ann Arbor. He was the first Jew in that city. He was soon joined by his future wife Dora and his brothers: Leopold, Moses, Marcus and Jacob, and his father Joseph. They all first conducted individual businesses but later decided to pool their resources and establish a family-run tannery J. Weil & Bros. Jacob Weil (1827-1912), who was highly educated, having initially studied in Prague to be a rabbi and later graduated from the University in Budapest, was chosen to be the firm’s president. Just three years after they bought the tannery, the R.G. Dun & Company reported the brothers’ worth as $50,000, and their business as “one of the most successful firms in the West.” By 1861, the tannery employed from 40 to 50 men. Five years later their real estate was worth about $100,000.

In 1847, three Lederer brothers, Charles, Henry and Emanuel, also from Čkyně, Bohemia, settled in Ann Arbor. Subsequently they moved to Lansing, Michigan, where they established a tannery, soap manufacturing and general store.

The First Jews of Ann Arbor by Helen Aminoff

Michigan's First Jewish Cemetery