Judaism in Los Angeles

Since the late 1980’s, the City of Los Angeles has been home to the world’s second largest Jewish population. Only the City of New York could boast of a larger Jewish population.

Jews in Los Angeles County constitute more than half of all Jews in California and 8.38% of the entire U.S. Jewish population.

Congregations & Adherants - 1990 & 2000

Congregations/Adherants 1990 2000
Number of Congregations 145 202
Estimated Adherents 501,700 564,700
Percent of Total County Population 5.7% 5.9%

Source: Assn. of Statisticians of American Religious Books

Another source placed the number of Jewish adherents at 347,100 in 1990.1 Yet another source offered the number of non-denominational Jewish adherents at 97,188.2

1 Kosmin, B. & S. Lachman. One Nation Under God: Religion in Contemporary American Society; Harmony Books: New York (1993), pg. 111. 2 Wertheimer, Jack. A People Divided: Juadism in Contemporary America. New York: Basic Books (A Division of Harper Collins) (1993), pg. 52.

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 also 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.