Date of Birth: 1905

Date of Death: May 23, 2002

Place of Birth: London, England

Lillian Aaron

Provided leadership and service to Detroit's Jewish community for more than 60 years

Born in London, England, Lillian Aaron came to Detroit when she was two. After graduation from Northern High School, she married Samuel S. Aaron. It wasn’t until her two daughters, Marian and Harriet, became fairly grown that she began to participate in Detroit Jewish affairs.

By the 1940s, Lillian was president of the Greater Detroit B’nai Brith Council, which then had 14 chapters with 5,000 members. She was recording secretary for the Women’s Division of the Jewish Welfare Federation, finance chair of the Park District Council of Girl Scouts and corresponding secretary of the League of Jewish Women.

Although active in many organizations, Lillian stated B’nai Brith with its numerous functions was her first love.

“Working with the Jewish youth of Detroit is what I enjoy most,” she said in a June 20, 1947 Detroit Jewish Chronicle article naming her as a “Woman of the Week.” “They are my primary interest because we must transmit our heritage to them – they will become the Jewish leaders of the future.”

As evidence of her love for B’nai Brith, she was president of a Pisgah Women’s chapter, president of Michigan B’nai Brith Council, general chair of B’nai Brith Women’s District Grand Lodge No. 6, and chair of B’nai Brith Youth Organization.

In 1966, she was executive secretary of the Akiva Hebrew Day School, directing the school’s development program and its public relations department. At that time, she was also serving on the board of directors of B’nai Brith Women, the Women’s Division of the Jewish Welfare Federation, the Jewish Community Center, Detroit Chapter of Brandeis University Women, Resettlement Service and Jewish Family and Children’s Service.

In 1995, she was honored by her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren on her 90th birthday who noted Lillian “had lived 90 years as a Woman of Valor, devoting herself to establishing the framework for many Jewish foundations and charities as we enjoy them today.”

For more than half a century, Lillian Aaron was a vibrant leader in Detroit’s Jewish life. She believed in taking an active role in the cultural affairs of her community, working with her neighbors for the benefit of everyone. “It is by participating in community activities that you broaden your whole intellect,” she said. “My experience is proof that what you gain in knowledge and understanding outweighs by far what you give.”

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