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Temple Beth Israel

Today’s LA Times has a lovely article on the resurgence of Temple Beth Israel in the Highland Park / Eagle Rock section of northeast Los Angeles, of which there is a link to an in-depth essay in LA Magazine from 2008 by Ed Leibowitz about Finding Sanctuary at Beth Israel.
As I read both articles, I was enchanted by the slice of Los Angeles history that Beth Israel represents and by the people who have invested their lives in that congregation from the 1920s to today. As I read the LA Times story and the first two pages of the LA Magazine essay, the back of my brains kept saying to me, “I think this is Lauren’s grandpa’s synagogue.” I emailed her to see if it was this temple or not.
About six years ago when Lauren and I were roommates, and when I was in the throes of my genealogy research phase Lauren told me what she knew of her various family members to see if I could find more. The Isaacson line was the fun one to research as Lauren’s dad Joe was the son of a rabbi, who was the son of a rabbi from Selma, Alabama. We did know that Lauren’s grandpa was a founding member and rabbi of a synagogue in LA named Beth Israel.
By the time I had read the sixth page of the LA Magazine article, Lauren had emailed me back to let me know that the Temple Beth Israel in both articles was one and the same as her grandpa had been a rabbi at. I am very glad that Temple Beth Israel is currently undergoing a renaissance with young families in the Eagle Rock / Highland Park area, and even more glad that the temple of my Lauren’s grandfather is continuing to be a blessing in its community.
Update from Fri 11.05.10 – Lauren emailed me this morning to let me know that her grandpa, Rabbi Isaacson, as a founder at the Temple Beth Israel in Hollywood in the same era.