FOUR GENERATIONS OF FAMILY SERVING THE DETROIT JEWISH COMMUNITY
Machpelah Cemetery was founded in 1912 by David Oppenheim to create a beautiful and dignified resting place for the growing Detroit Jewish population.
David was a well-known and respected Detroit businessman and philanthropist who devoted much of his time in his retired years to charitable enterprises in the community. David was one of the founders of the Detroit Real Estate Board with a prolific career in the downtown real estate business. In 1912 he purchased land off of Woodward Avenue in Ferndale that had been the site of the Granger Farm Property and Mill, the first manufacturing facility in Ferndale. He transformed the site, founding Machpelah Cemetery, and built it into one of the most beautiful Jewish cemeteries in the world, supporting and maintaining the grounds with his own funds for the remainder of his life.
David left specific provisions for the permanent maintenance and care of Machpelah Cemetery, entrusting his children Edwin, Royal, Ethel, Theodore, and Martin to carry this out. In 1950, they created a trust foundation for the perpetual maintenance, improvement, and embellishment of Machpelah’s beautiful grounds and chapel to fulfill their father’s wishes to provide the Jewish community a beautiful and peaceful place to honor the memory of loved ones.
As each of David’s children passed on and were buried at Machpelah, David’s grandchildren succeeded their parents as the next generation to manage and care for Machpelah. Today, some of his grandchildren and several of his great-grandchildren proudly carry forward the David Oppenheim family legacy of each new generation continuing to ensure the beauty and serenity of the cemetery grounds.
Machpelah is open to the public to visit relatives who may be among the over 16,500 resting within the 24-acre property or to peacefully stroll along Machpelah’s walking trails among majestic shade trees and over 9,000 gorgeous garden beds. Points of interest include the chapel and family room with a collection of historic artifacts and a celebratory time capsule buried on the grounds in 2012 to commemorate the 100th anniversary. Instructions direct the capsule to be opened in 2062. All internments are listed on the Machpelah website of the famous and infamous who now call Machpelah home.