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New Jewish Center to Celebrate the High Holidays Downtown

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Monday, September 29, 2008, at 02:11PM

In a small space on Spring Street, Rabbi Moshe Greenwald is about to lead the celebration of High Holy Days this evening. One might think he would be anxious. “What’s to be nervous about?" Greenwald says with a tone of joy. “Every Jew, every soul, is precious.”

He also considers Downtown precious for its uniqueness, diversity, and its growth. The growth created a need for Jewish Services, so Greenwald founded the Jewish Community Center - Chabad of Downtown Los Angeles thirteen months ago.

The diversity has Rabbi Greenwald adding running commentary into his services. "Instead of just mumbling Hebrew Prayers for three hours straight, I go into some of the deeper meanings and explanations of the prayers and the Holiday in general," he says. "There are jokes and stories and songs that are meant to uplift."

In many ways, celebrating the High Holy Days is a link to Downtown's past. 1841 is the year Jacob Frankfort, a German tailor, became the first known Jew to arrive in Los Angeles, By 1850, the first Los Angeles City Council also has its first Jewish Councilmember, Morris L. Goodman.

L.A.’s first synagogue, Congregation B’nai B’rith, was built in 1872 and stood on Fort Street, now Broadway, between 2nd and 3rd until 1895. The congregation’s Wilshire location, built in 1929, remains to this day as the Wilshire Boulevard Temple.

Rosh Hashanah services:

  • Monday, September 29, 6:30pm
  • Tuesday, September 30, 9:30am
  • Wednesday, October 1, 9:30am

A schedule of Yom Kippur services is available on the Jewish Community Center's website, as is a form to RSVP for services. All services will be held in the second floor Business Center at Premiere Towers, 621 S. Spring.

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