A couple of weeks ago, the Six Points Fellowship, which is supporting our project, held our monthly meeting at the Breed Street Shul in Los Angeles. This synagogue is one of the oldest in the West. It was the focal point of the Jewish community of Boyle Heights, where the majority of LA-area Jews resided from early 20th century. The famous Canter’s Deli was originally in Boyle Heights. Many older Jewish people of LA have fond memories of growing up in that area.
From about the middle of last century, Jews started moving to other parts of the city and now the community is predominantly Hispanic. It was very interesting to observe how the grand old temple is now surrounded by what feels very much like Mexico.
The temple stood unoccupied for over a decade (and sadly turned into a graffiti-covered crack den) but has now been recognized as a historical landmark and great efforts are underway to restore it. The idea is to make it into a cultural center. Great thanks to Tsilah Burman, the Executive Director of the Breed Street Shul Project for showing us around and for overseeing the efforts to restore this amazing building. The Project needs help, financial and otherwise, so please check it out and do what you can.
Being inside the old temple really gave me tingles. It’s the kind of history one doesn’t often feel in Los Angeles, and it deserves to be preserved. The walls of the old building feature beautiful frescoes, unlike anything I’ve seen inside a temple – watch out for the crab! Please check out the pictures of the temple and the very colorful neighborhood that surrounds it. What is now Cesar Chavez Ave was originally Brooklyn Ave. You can see some traces of Jewish heritage in local details like the Pastrami/Burritos stand. And if you want to visit it yourself, CLICK HERE for the shul’s location.