…consistent with my impressions of much of Los Angeles Jewish life — creative, casual, relaxed — particularly compared to New York.
“New York is more bookish, more organically Jewish,” David Wolpe, author and rabbi of Los Angeles’ Sinai Temple, one of the largest and most successful Conservative congregations in the country, observed over coffee one morning. (Rabbi Wolpe writes the weekly “Musings” column for this paper.) “Jews came out here to succeed, not necessarily to make a Jewish life. But now you can do both.”
The rabbi has lived on both coasts and notes that L.A. “generates creativity,” with fewer boundaries of tradition than New York. In addition to Sinai Temple, with its Friday Night Live musical celebration of Shabbat, there are a number of trendy congregations and minyanim that emphasize ingenuity and feature rabbis with strong followings and national reputations. Several of the congregations are flourishing without permanent edifices. They include Sharon Brous of Ikar and Naomi Levy (who is married to L.A. Jewish Journal editor Rob Eshman) of Neshuva, two congregations that have drawn hundreds of unaffiliated Jews.
Gary Rosenblatt, “A New Generation of Seekers in Jewish L.A.”, The Jewish Week (6 February 2015), 7.