Wilshire Boulevard Temple began as Congregation B’nai B’rith – 1862

Congregation B’nai B’rith

 

Congregation B’nai B’rith received its charter to from the State of California in 1862, making it the oldest synagogue in Los Angeles.

Before that time, religious services were held in various locations around town.

Joseph Newmark, uncle of Harris Newmark, conducted many of those early services.

Although trained as a rabbi, Newmark was a successful businessman in early pioneer Los Angeles.

The synagogue continued to rent locations for the High Holy Days until it was able to open its first building, a beautiful Gothic structure, in 1873, at the corner of Temple and Broadway.

The 1st Congregation B’nai B’rith building

“The most superior church edifice in Southern California.”

— The Los Angeles Star

Plaque commemorating the location of the 1st Congregation B’nai B’rith building

The 2nd Congregation B’nai B’rith building

The Second Building – 1895

A larger Victorian synagogue structure at 9th and Hope in 1895.

Both buildings were designed by A.M. Edelman, the son of the congregation’s rabbi, Abraham Edelman.

Wilshire Boulevard Temple 1930’s

The Current Location – 1919

Rabbi Edgar Magnin joined the congregation in 1915 as assistant rabbi to Rabbi Hecht, the fifth rabbi of Congregation B’nai B’rith.

Edgar Magnin became senior rabbi in 1919.

From the time of his arrival, Magnin understood the westward movement of both the city and its Jewish community.

Thus began the development and plans for a new Wilshire Boulevard site, as well as the renaming of the congregation as Wilshire Boulevard Temple.

The new building opened in 1929.

In 1984, the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Wilshire Boulevard Temple, 2009

2011 began with Wilshire Boulevard Temple’s restoration project for the sanctuary and the further development of the surrounding city block.

By 2017, most of the original building was restored and updated.

Work is currently being done on adjacent buildings.