Jewish LA: From Fairfax Ave. to Brooklyn Ave
The Jewish Migration from Boyle Heights to the Mid-City
Sunday, December 8, 2019
On this special tour we are going to focus on the migration of Jewish families from the barrio of Boyle Heights, East Los Angeles to the mid-city district off Fairfax Ave starting in the 1930s. By the 1950s the Fairfax district was considered the beating heart of the greater Los Angeles Jewish community, and its a community which still has a unique Jewish heritage to share with us.
We are going to go on a nostalgic walk through the history of this famous Jewish community, with a special focus on the restaurants, shops, and institution which relocated from Boyle Height to this neighborhood. And we will revisit the history of some of our favorite spots:
Canter’s Deli – founded in Boyle Heights in 1931, they opened their second location of Fairfax Ave. in the 1940s as the Jewish community starting migrating to this area. We will discuss how they grew to be the infamous institution they are today, and how they have managed to keep this family-owned operation going for all these years. We will also discuss it became a chill hangout for celebrities and rockers, and how it remains a favorite nighttime meeting spot; don’t forget to ask about the Kibitz Room!
Schwartz Bakery – we will swing by a taste of the bakery counter at the most-loved kosher bakery in town. We will discuss the amazing growth and expanse of the Jewish kosher food market in Los Angeles in the past generation.
Solomon’s Bookstore – we will discuss how this bookstore and ritual Judaica shop became the first of its kind in Los Angeles in 1930s, founded by Elimelech and Chaya who had immigrated from Palestine, and who sold items they imported from relatives in Jerusalem.
Jewish Murals - we will be taking a look at a couple interesting murals; the Fairfax Community Mural near Canter’s, which in several panels depicts the long Jewish history of Los Angeles, including life in old Boyle Heights; and “Breaking Bread/ Not Somewhere Else, But Here,” which honors a culturally diverse view of empower women, created for National Council of Jewish Women. We will talk about the unique history of muralism in Los Angeles, and how it reaches and inspires beyond the walls of the barrios and ghettos.
The Farmers Market - where we will learn the foundational history of the Fairfax-Beverly area.
And even a quick pass by the LA Museum of the Holocaust; founded by survivors, it is the oldest institution in the country of it's kind. We will discuss the great influx of German Jewish refugees and shoah survivors to this community; some of which still reside in this neighborhood to this day.
We will recall the various shops and bookstores which have changed hands and merged, though have maintain their same dedicated customers for generations. We will reminisce about some of my favorite spots when this was the stomping grounds of my youth, such as the old Simon Rutberg’s Hatikva Music and the original Atara’s Bookstore location run by Mr. Moskowitz... and much more!
On this tour we will also be discussing how the neighborhood is rapidly changing, with a new influx of gentrification and the hip-hop street-wear scene that is competing with many of these beloved old Jewish businesses and long time residents; we will discuss the social dynamics and how they are trying to make it work.
We will even explore a few new ones Jewish spots which have opening in recent years.
You don’t want to miss the special and enlightening tour. This is excellent follow-up tour for anyone who has been on my “Boyle Heights: Memories of Brooklyn Ave.” walking-tour.
Come on this fun tour with me. Then stick around and maybe grab a corned beef sandwich with me after the tour? You’ll be glad you came!
On Sunday, March 31, 2019 will be meeting outside of Canter's Deli, in front of the Kibitz Room sign, starting at around 11:45am in order to start out tour promptly at 12-noon. There is both metered and paid parking in the area; Canter's also has their own parking lot.
Public transit rider: From the MTA Red Line, take the 217 South towards Howard Hughes Way via Fairfax Ave. You can also connect to the 217 from any one the buses which travel down Santa Monica Blvd. or Sunset Blvd. Exit the bus at Oakwood Ave., just before Beverly Blvd.
Children 13 and under are free, please contact me to add them to my guest list. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, as spaces are limited.
We will be limiting this group to a maximum of 20 participants, and is expected to fill-up quickly. So please sign up today!