Since founding by a group of entertainment luminaries in 1926, Temple Israel of Hollywood has never strayed from its Hollywood roots or its connections to Reform Jewish traditions and values. Today, Temple Israel’s dedication to worship, community, Jewish life, social justice, and to Israel has a distinctly contemporary flair.
Commitment to Social Justice
Temple Israel was founded upon a dedication to social justice, through both thought and action. Leading Jewish thinkers, including Rabbis Mordechai Kaplan, Leo Baeck and Stephen S. Wise, gave sermons here about important social issues. In 1965, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke movingly from the Temple’s pulpit about segregation, poverty, freedom, and human dignity. Ten years later, at the end of the Vietnam War, Bob Dylan sang “Blowin’ in the Wind” at a Temple seder.
Guided by the principle of Tikun Olam, Temple Israel members annually serve a joyful Christmas dinner to 1,500 homeless and hungry Angelinos; prepare monthly lunches for individuals living with HIV/AIDS; gather food, baby formula and other relief supplies for distribution locally and globally; organize for disaster relief; and continuously address contemporary social and humanitarian issues through leadership and action.
In 1997, Temple Israel launched Mitzvah Day which has grown into “Big Sunday Weekend,” an independent nonprofit with year-round programming. Now the largest regional community service event in America, Big Sunday draws 50,000 participants annually to participate in 500 service projects throughout California. Temple Israel remains among its strongest supporters.
Kinship With Israel
The rabbis at TIOH take an active role in raising local awareness and love for Israel through leading annual congregant trips, ARZA leadership, community forums, education, a student exchange program with Tel Aviv’s Tzahalah School, Israeli music, and support of IRAC and progressive congregations in Israel.
Temple Israel’s commitment to life-long learning is expressed in the myriad adult education opportunities and extensive adult programming. The friendships that grow from weekly Torah study, Hebrew classes, lectures, concerts, men’s and women’s retreats, holiday workshops, choir, meditation, parent and family education, and more, further enrich and create community.
Jewish Expression Through The Arts
Temple Israel was founded, in large part, by creative luminaries in the entertainment industry. Temple Israel’s Arts Council strives to honor their vision by making the arts a vital aspect of the identity of Temple Israel of Hollywood by producing high quality ‘Jewish-centric’ artistic programs, including music, visual arts, drama, and literature.