Hollywood’s Own Wilshire Boulevard Temple
Established in 1862, Congregation B’nai B’rith is the oldest reform synagogue in Los Angeles. Its home is the Wilshire Boulevard Temple, a striking, stately structure on the edge of what’s now a congested stretch in Koreatown. Built in 1929, the temple was designed by A.M. Edelman, son of the congregation’s first rabbi, Abraham Edelman. During the Golden Age of Hollywood, the temple was the go-to place of worship for scores of movie-industry professionals who wanted to assimilate into American culture without sacrificing their Jewish identity. The building’s enormous Byzantine revival-style dome was funded by Hollywood producer Irving Thalberg, while Louis B. Mayer donated funds for the temple’s art glass windows. Carl Laemmle donated spice box chandeliers, and the temple’s biblical murals were commissioned by Jack, Harry and Albert Warner, aka the Warner Bros. The Wilshire Boulevard Temple is in the midst of an ambitious $150 million overhaul, but with such a dazzling history, its future looks just as bright as its starry past. Places of worship and cemeteries are popular sightseeing themes when you create your own best Los Angeles tour.