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Breed Street Shul

August 04, 1996

Re "Jews Debate Fate of Ruins of Old Religious Center," July 23:

If the condition the synagogue is now in was caused by anti-Semites, the Jewish community would be up in arms. But this neglect has been caused by Jews!

While I agree strongly with members of the Southern California Jewish Historical Society who want to restore the synagogue and preserve it for the future, I am not sure that I agree with the plan that the SCJHS has proposed. The society wants to turn the synagogue into a museum and center for the low-income residents of the neighborhood.

Several things seem wrong to me about this plan. The first is that most of the members of today's Los Angeles Jewish community have little or no ties to the neighborhood or to the synagogue.

The most bothersome aspect of the whole situation is that while the synagogue deteriorates, right now in downtown Los Angeles, just minutes from Boyle Heights, a certain type of Jewish revival is underway. Businessmen hold Torah classes, Jewish restaurants have opened, and increasing numbers of religious Jews work in downtown. It is more than ironic that one of L.A.'s largest synagogue buildings remains vacant while nearby hotels host Jewish weddings.



* Our congregation is preparing to build a new facility next to our current shul. We as a congregation would be willing to put our plans aside if the Los Angeles community would like to move the Breed Street Shul to Woodland Hills. If they can move the London Bridge, this move should certainly be in the realm of possibility. This, of course, would have to be a communitywide effort as it would be costly. As an alternative, should this plan be cost prohibitive, we would be proud to have the historical remnants incorporated into our new building.

Steven Sass of the Jewish Historical Society informs us that this may be an uphill battle unless Rabbi Mordechai Ganzweig, who is in control of the Breed Street Shul, becomes enamored with our cause.


Vice President

Beit Hamidrash

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