West Michigan Jewish Soldiers: The Civil War & Beyond

November 6-11, 2016


This project got started by the research we were doing in the Peg & Mort Finkelstein Archives at Temple Emanuel for an article which I was writing for the Michigan Jewish Historical Society’s Journal. Megan Yost our research associate had worked on the cemetery records here for over 8 years and was familiar with the subject.

We had always known of three men David M. Amberg, Sidney A. Hart and Dr. Daniel Laubenstein, from Temple Emanuel who had been involved in the Civil War, but didn’t really know the complete history behind their stories. After a short period of time Megan called to say she had found three more congregants in our cemetery who were never listed as being veterans, Abraham Levy, Sigo Tyroler, and Charles D. Rose. She had also found actual muster records from the civil war on several of these men.

Continued research into each of these six people turned into about 5 months of research. During that time period I had to rebuild their entire lives to be able to know all of the facts about them. Some of these individuals we did have a considerable amount of research on in our congregant’s files, as two of them were founding members here at Temple Emanuel. One was especially difficult as, no other information was available, except a short paragraph in the local history books and in our files.

After, finding these additional 3 veterans, Megan began to do a complete research history on each congregant buried in not only our own Oakhill Cemetery, but also those of Ahavas Israel’s, Greenwood and Ahavas Achim Cemeteries. She also followed up with B’nai Israel in Muskegon, Mona View Cemetery as well as she had previously worked up a database for them from their cemetery map.

With this vast amount of material being entered into our archives, we felt the need to share it with those congregations involved and the community as a whole. We do understand that a lot more research needs to go into validating those veteran’s that have been documented thus far. The final information will be shared with our Jewish Historical Society of Michigan and our own local community.

Material for the displays throughout Temple Emanuel are being taken from the Peg & Mort Finkelstein Archives and research data collected and printed for this project. Material from Ahavas Israel’s Gen and Jack Finkelstein Archives has also provided us with articles used in our displays.

Jewish Veterans from the Civil War & Beyond is being featured in several presentations during Veterans Week – Nov. 6-11, 2016

Nov. 6, 2016:

10:30-12:30 /Open House to view displays or join in the roundtable discussions on the effects of war to all soldiers’ lives.

Nov. 9, 2016:

Open House/Wine and Cheese Reception at 5:30 PM and view displays. Film at: 7:00 PM

Film is “Jewish Soldiers in Blue and Gray” from the Jewish Film Library at Brandies University.

Temple Emanuel,
1715 Fulton Street, E. Grand Rapids, MI. 49503

There is no-charge for the film, but registration is required by calling, Temple Emanuel at: 616.459.5976

The Film is being underwritten by Temple Emanuel, Ahavas Israel, and the Jewish Federation of Grand Rapids.

Nov. 11, 2016: 5:30-6:10PM
Wine & Cheese Reception, followed by a special combined religious service at 6:15 PM with Oneg Shabbat to follow services.