PRESS RELEASE: Los Angeles Welcomes Jewish Heritage Month with Celebration on Jewish-Angeleno Culture

Los Angeles Today, The City of Los Angeles celebrated Jewish Heritage Month with an event on Jewish-Angeleno culture, history, and civic engagement that contributed to the growth of Los Angeles. City Councilmembers, Mayor Eric Garcetti and other officials joined Jewish community leaders for a presentation, live music and food to highlight the civic and cultural contributions made by Jewish Angelenos.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

May 4, 2018

 

Press Contact:

Mark Pampanin

mark.pampanin@lacity.org

213.473.2325 

Los Angeles Welcomes Jewish Heritage Month with Celebration on Jewish-Angeleno Culture

 

Los AngelesToday, The City of Los Angeles celebrated Jewish Heritage Month with an event on Jewish-Angeleno culture, history, and civic engagement that contributed to the growth of Los Angeles. City Councilmembers, Mayor Eric Garcetti and other officials joined Jewish community leaders for a presentation, live music and food to highlight the civic and cultural contributions made by Jewish Angelenos.

“I am thrilled to welcome Jewish Heritage Month in Council District Four and the City of Los Angeles,” Councilmember Ryu said. “There are over 600,000 Jewish Angelenos, and they have not only built thriving religious institutions, but they have also led LA’s cultural, economic and civic growth as well. This Jewish Heritage month, we celebrate all those achievements and recognize that Jewish-Angelenos have a central role in the past, present and future of our City.”

May was declared nationwide Jewish American Heritage Month on April 20, 2006 by then-President George W. Bush. The official City Hall kick-off for Jewish Heritage Month was titled “KLAL: A Celebration of Jewish-Angeleno Culture and Civic Engagement.” KLAL means “community” in Hebrew, and the celebration is meant to highlight the diverse Jewish community here in Los Angeles. The event included food, an exhibit on Jewish history in Los Angeles, and music by Ellis Island Band’s KlezMexKo: A Jewish Klezmer, Latin and Korean Synergy Ensemble. Food was collected for the SOVA Food Pantry of Jewish Family Service, an organization serving all members of Los Angeles.

The event was hosted by City Councilmembers David Ryu, Bob Blumenfield, Mitchell Englander, Paul Koretz and Paul Krekorian, as well as the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles, The UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies, and the Jewish Historical Society of Southern California. They were joined by Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles’ first elected Jewish mayor, City Controller Ron Galperin, and the Consul General for Israel in Los Angeles, Sam Grundwerg.

“The Jewish tradition is a foundational piece of Los Angeles’ history — and today, we are home to one of the world’s largest and most vibrant Jewish communities,” said Mayor Garcetti. “I am proud to honor Jewish Heritage Month, and celebrate the role that our people have played in shaping the story of our city.”

"The history and heritage of Los Angeles is inseparable from the Jewish experience and the communities that have called this city home for generations," said Councilmember Mitchell Englander. "From our film industry to famous local eateries and fabled sports heroes, the Jewish people continue to shape the story of Los Angeles. I'm excited to join my colleagues and families across Los Angeles in celebrating Jewish Heritage Month." 

"I have based my life and my career as a public servant on the Jewish philosophy of Tikkun Olam, which is a concept defined by acts of kindness performed to perfect or repair the world,” said Councilmember Paul Koretz. “For many in the Jewish community, Tikkun Olam is closely woven with a drive for civic responsibility.  It is important to recognize the wealth of ways that Los Angeles Jews have historically woven community service into the fabric of our City. "

“The Jewish community has helped shape this City in so many ways from its politics to its cultural institutions,” said Councilmember Bob Blumenfield. “It is great to stand with my colleagues and celebrate this rich history and honor the relationship between Los Angeles and the Jewish people.”

“The strength of our city lies in the diversity of its people and their contributions to our communities,” said Councilmember Paul Krekorian, District 2. “Jewish Heritage Month is an important opportunity to celebrate Jewish Angelenos for their leadership in shaping the San Fernando Valley and all of Los Angeles. As community leaders, public servants, teachers, artists, musicians, heads of industry, and in so many other roles, Jewish Angelenos deserve recognition for their tremendous achievements.”

"Jewish roots run deep in Los Angeles with a history that stretches back nearly as long as the City we've helped grow,” City Controller Ron Galperin said. “I am proud to be part of a community who helped create and have strengthened our civic institutions and thrilled to take part in Jewish Heritage Month as a celebration of Jewish Angeleno culture and civic engagement."

This is the second time the City of Los Angeles has celebrated Jewish Heritage Month, with last year being the first celebration.

“My grandparents fled oppression and anti-Semitism, immigrating to America to find safer, better lives," said Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer.  "Life here wasn't always easy, but they lived in a land of opportunity, which gave them hope.  Like so many immigrants, they helped make this a great nation.  This month we celebrate the lives and contributions of generations of Jewish Americans whose values, creativity and sacrifice have added so much to the fabric of our country."

The exhibit curated and donated by the Alan D. Leve Jewish Center at UCLA, in collaboration with the Jewish Historical Society of Southern California, is called "Jews of Los Angeles: A Sense of Home, a Sense of Place." It celebrates the multiple Jewish diasporas that have grown in Los Angeles over the past 170 years, and the ways these communities have contributed to Los Angeles' development as a global metropolis. In panels spotlighting a variety of Jewish charitable, religious and cultural institutions established in neighborhoods throughout the City, the exhibition reveals how, in making themselves at home in Los Angeles, Jews have provided valuable services for all Angelenos and shaped the urban fabric of Los Angeles.

“Los Angeles is not only one of the world’s great cities, it is also one of the world’s great Jewish cities,” said Stephen J. Sass, president of the Jewish Historical Society of Southern California.   “Unprecedented freedom allows the Jewish community to enjoy with our neighbors a place of great opportunities and challenges. We’re grateful to the City for celebrating this unique and colorful past, as well as the present and future, symbolizing the pioneering spirit of all Angelenos who’ve joined together to create our home.”

“We are thrilled to partner with the City of Los Angeles, the UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies, and the Jewish Historical Society of Southern California. For the second year in a row, it is an honor for our Federation to celebrate Jewish Heritage Month with the Los Angeles community,” said Alisa Finsten, Senior Vice President of Community Engagement at The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. “The Federation is committed to building a better Los Angeles, as well as a strong Jewish future through civic leadership and partnerships. We thank all those who helped make today a success, and those who joined us from near and far. We look forward to celebrating Jewish Heritage Month for years to come.”

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