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Jewish Journal

High holy days and high political offices: an L.A. roundup

by Jonah Lowenfeld

September 27, 2012 | 12:06 pm

Jewish and non-, Los Angeles’s politicians were out in the packed pews of synagogues around Los Angeles these past couple of weeks.

California Gov. Jerry Brown may have commanded Yom Kippur’s highest profile gig, speaking about Prop. 30, his ballot initiative that would raise taxes to benefit public education across the state, at Temple Emanuel in Beverly Hills yesterday. But with a national election just weeks away and a mayoral contest that features a bunch of Jewish (and Jew-ish) candidates, elected officials were easy to find in synagogues around the city.

Including, of course, this blog’s favorite Jewish congressmen.

According to two reliable sources, Rep. Howard Berman spent Rosh Hashanah at his synagogue, Adat Ari El in Valley Village. Rep. Brad Sherman, meanwhile, made his way to Temple Judea in Tarzana on the first evening of Rosh Hashana, Temple Aliyah in Woodland Hills the following morning and then to his own temple, Valley Beth Shalom in Encino, on the second day.

All four of those synagogues are in the new 30th district, which is being contested by the two Jewish Democratic incumbents.

Sherman “has been invited to Temple Judea and Temple Aliyah every year for the past 16 years to celebrate Rosh Hashana,” Sherman’s campaign press secretary, John Schwada, wrote in an email to the Journal.

According to a source close to the campaign of one candidate for Los Angeles mayor, pols go where they’re invited, and over the years, the invitations multiply, leading to tight itineraries this time of year.

Especially for pols seeking reelection. I’m told Rep. Henry Waxman, who is facing off against a tough opponent in Bill Bloomfield), was at Sinai Temple on Rosh Hashana’s second day (which is still in Waxman’s new coastal district, the 33rd), and LAObserved spotted him at Temple Israel of Hollywood (which isn’t in his district anymore) during the holiday as well.

Also spotted by LAObserved at Temple Israel was L.A. City Controller Wendy Gruel, who is running for Mayor. Gruel reportedly made it to services at University Synagogue on Sunset as well.

Another candidate for mayor, Los Angeles City Councilman Eric Garcetti, did a two-fer on the first day of Rosh Hashana, hitting the city’s oldest conservative synagogue, Sinai Temple, in the morning and making it to IKAR – one of the city’s youngest spiritual communities – for the latter half of services and lunch.

Full disclosure: This blogger is a member of IKAR, which is why he can report that the congregation also played host to the city’s current mayor on Yom Kippur; Antonio Villaraigosa led the congregation in the prayer for the United States and its leaders.

Any other sightings? Tweet with the hashtag #LAHighHolsPols, or just post in the comments section.

Happy New Year, y’all.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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As a result of California’s 2011 redistricting, two Jewish Democratic incumbent congressmen, Howard Berman (D - Valley Village) and Brad Sherman (D - Sherman Oaks), have both...

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