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Judaism in Los Angeles

Hanukkah Candles

Hanukkah candles as part of the eight-day Jewish commemoration. Los Angeles Almanac Photo.

Since the late 1980’s, the Los Angeles metropolitan area has been home to one of the world’s largest Jewish populations. The Los Angeles metro area has the world's second largest Jewish population outside of Israel (following the New York metro area) . Source: Jewish Virtual Library.

In 2015, Jews in Los Angeles County are estimated to constitute almost half of all Jews in California and 6.7% of the entire U.S. Jewish population. Source: Brandeis University.

Estimated Jewish Population - 1916-2015

Population 2015 2000 1990 1952 1916
Estimated Jewish 475,000 1 564,700 2 501,700 2 343,000 2 1,000 2

1) Source: Steinhardt Social Research Institute, Brandeis University
2) Source: Assn. of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies

Wilshire Boulevard Temple, home of the oldest Jewish congregation in Los Angeles. Photo by Downtowngal via Wikimedia Commons.

Congregations & Adherants by Judaic Tradition, 2010

Religious Tradition Conservative Messianic Orthodox Reconstructionist Reform
Congregations 23 2 150 3 26
Adherents 26,676 --- 44,400 3,761 33,631

Source: Assn. of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies

Also visit the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles

Jews have played no small part in Los Angeles history. Solomon Lazard, a Los Angeles merchant, not only served on the Los Angeles City Council in 1853, but also headed the first Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. Emil Harris, a Polish Jew, served as Los Angeles Police Chief in 1877 and 1878. Famed Los Angeles chronicler and community leader Harris Newark (and founder of Montebello), was Jewish. His uncle, Joseph Newmark, who as an ordained rabbi, began conducting the first informal Sabbath services in Los Angeles in 1854, also founded the Hebrew Benevolent Society that same year -- the first charity organization in Los Angeles. The first formal Jewish services were conducted by Rabbi Abraham Wolf Edelman for the newly formed B’nai B’rith congregation in 1862.