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Return to the Eastside

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The field of forthcoming weekend events is quite crowded, but why stop inundating our readers with activity suggestions now? Before you completely fill your Filofax pages or Palm appointment functions or whatever you use to keep track of your busy lives, add the open house on Sunday at the Breed Street Shul (formerly Congregation Talmud Torah) in Boyle Heights.

Sunday’s event showcases the progress made on the ceiling and windows in this significant vestige of Jewish life on the eastside of Los Angeles. Earthquakes, neglect, and vandalism accelerated the long-suffering building’s deterioration until about five years ago, when the Jewish Historical Society of Southern California organized the Breed Street Shul Project. Rehabilitation recently began of the 1923 synagogue and adjacent structure, with the goal of creating a community center for the now predominantly Latino neighborhood. (The L.A. Times featured the project in Wednesday’s paper.)

As many folks might know, Canter’s Deli hasn’t always been on Fairfax. Boyle Heights functioned as the heart of Los Angeles’s Jewish community during the 1920s and 1930s, predating the community's dispersal to the Westside and the Valley. Plus, saving the Breed Street Shul is also a familiar cause for those of you who saw the amazing exhibition chronicling the history of Boyle Heights at the Japanese American National Museum.