Los Angeles

posted 2 Apr 2019, 07:49 by Charles Greene   [ updated 7 Apr 2019, 08:40 ]
Where in the world is Rabbi Eli? 
Although the Wilshire Boulevard Temple was only built 90 years ago, the congregation has been around since early 1860s. In the early 20th c. it drifted away from its previously largely Orthodox practices, and officially joined the Reform movement in 1903.

In a sense, we mostly have one person to thank for the development of the movie industry, and with it - the Jewish community here. That person was Thomas Edison. Contrary (and in contrast to his close friend Henry Ford) to popular belief, Edison was not an anti-Semite.  He was merely a bully who stopped before nothing to ensure having a finger in every pie imaginable. Pushed by Edison Trust that owned, through various means, patent rights to many technical inventions behind the cinemas (and frequently employed armed goons to assert those rights they "did not entirely own"), the industry started to shift out west, as far from Edison-controlled New York as possible.

It's been over 100 years now since Carl Laemmle, (the polished Jewish entrepreneur from Wurttemberg,) moved a large chunk of his Universal Studios to LA county. 
This is a Schule that saw the big bosses of Warner Bros, Paramount, MGM, and dozens of others crowd in for the services, mingle, socialize, dazzle, participate, see and be seen.

The iconic Rabbi Edgar Magnin remained balabos here for nigh seventy years, showing great skill at chaplaincy, oratorship, and community politics, and gaining a name for himself as The Rabbi to The Stars and The John Wayne of Rabbis.

Cometh high noon, the bright sunlight pours through the tall stained glass windows on the east and the west. Just like our windows at The Lodzer, there are twelve of them, each symbolizing a tribe of Israel. Unlike ours, those were donated by Louis B. Mayer of MGM and consist of 5,500-6,000 pieces of stained glass each. 
The building itself was designed in a once-popular Moorish style, its dome crafted after the Pantheon of Rome, and almost as huge.
This is Hollywood baby, pure and undiluted. Subtlety, can take a walk.

Reporting from L-A for all that glitters,
Rabbi Eli