Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Wilshire Boulevard Temple Shines Again

The final touches of refurbishment can still be seen taking place outside the temple, expected to officially reopen in September for the Jewish High Holy Days.

Just  a mile and a half east of Hancock Park, the grand Wilshire Boulevard Temple was erected over 80 years ago and known as the “Temple of the Stars” for its original funding by three of the Warner brothers and producer Irving Thalberg in 1929. But it might also earn the moniker for its elaborate interior, which has recently been refurbished.

With the first segment of its $150 million renovation almost complete, the temple looks better than ever and hopes to draw a resurgence of Jewish congregants back into the heart of Koreatown. Since most synagogues in Los Angeles are based on the westside, Wilshire Boulevard Temple hopes to draw in younger jewish observers now settling in Los Feliz, downtown or Silverlake. The temple will also expand its community outreach in the neighborhood, with a planned expansion over the entire block to include a school and a social services center for the nearby community.

Rabbi Steve Leder has a fun list online of the “Top Ten Sanctuary Surprises” he found during the restoration. Among them? How dirty the dome actually was and the deep blues, azures and aquas that were brought back to life by cleaning; how complicated the removal, repair and reassembly was of the 3,000 pound stained glass rose window, and how even the non-Jewish workers felt it was not “just another job” working on this extraordinary historic building.

The Wilshire Boulevard Temple will be open to the public in a free Interfaith Chorale Concert September 29th for those who want to take in the visual beauty along with music from many faiths. For more details, the New York Times also recently reported on the renovation.

The interior was a jungle of scaffolding during renovation. Photo courtesy of Wilshire Boulevard Temple.
The interior was a jungle of scaffolding during renovation. Photo courtesy of Wilshire Boulevard Temple (WBT.)


The temple seats 1500 congregants and is surrounded by murals representing jewish history up to 1929.
The temple seats 1658 congregants and is surrounded by murals depicting Jewish history up to 1929. Photo courtesy of WBT.


The dome spans
Spanning 100 feet in diameter, the Byzantine-revival style, gold-gilded dome soars above the Sanctuary, with a deep blue portal feeling like a view to the sky above. Photo courtesy of WBT.



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Julie Grist
Julie Grist
Julie co-founded the Larchmont Buzz with fellow buzzer Mary Hawley in 2011 and served as Editor, Publisher and writer for the hive for many years until the sale of the Buzz in August 2015. She is still circling the hive as an occasional writer.

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