Rabbi Ott and a search for a New Home 1959-1975

Tradition Unity Long

Rabbi Ott and a search for a New Home 1959-1975

1959 was quite an eventful year for the community. This was the year they merged with the Sephardic Brotherhood known as Haim VaHessed. This was the group that split with the Sephardic Community in 1926 and formed their own community. Now they have merged together again. The community’s name was changed to The Sephardic Community and Brotherhood of Los Angeles. This was also the year that Rabbi Jacob M. Ott was invited to be the spiritual leader of the community on a trial basis. The”trial” lasted for 33 years until he retired in 1992.

As the community grew through the years, the Santa Barbara Avenue Temple became too small, and as most of the members of the congregation had moved west, there was a strong urge to move to West Los Angeles. The leaders of the Santa Barbara Avenue Temple saw the need to preserve the unique culture, heritage and religious rites(minhag) of the Sephardim in an overwhelmingly large Ashkenazic community, as well as to help new families in the area and educate the children in the Sephardic culture. A large plot of land was purchased on Wilshire Boulevard, one of the most magnificent avenues of Los Angeles, at the corner of Warner Avenue. Plans for the architecture were carefully considered, and finally it was agreed that the temple should be made of stones, to look like the stones of Jerusalem. It was to be built in the style of the Old City of Jerusalem. The resulting building, the only one of its style, stands impressively on the city’s major boulevard. It is a fitting tribute to the vision of the late Maurice Amado of blessed memory.

An historic ground-breaking took place in 1970. His excellency Itzhak Navon, Israel’s first president of Sephardic origin, in a message to Rabbi Jacob Ott, expressed the hope that “along with physical development there will be corresponding growth in the temple’s spiritual and cultural influence among young and old in the community.”

By this time there were over 600 members in the temple family and growing!

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