In 2001, the last time the lines of congressional districts were redrawn, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) so hated the way that the San Fernando Valley was sliced into districts that he reportedly said that Rep. Howard Berman (D-Van Nuys) “stabbed me in the back.”
It is now two years since I moved to Calabasas to become the rabbi of a new Orthodox congregation. And there is no time like the eve of the Jewish New Year to take stock.
People said it couldn't be done. Some believed there was not much hope for an Orthodox synagogue in this community bordering the San Fernando and Conejo valleys, where expensive homes pepper the steep hills, because members would have to walk to services, and outsiders would be deterred from moving here because of the high price of housing.
Can one Jewish Community Center (JCC) serve a population as vast as that of the San Fernando Valley?
That is the question facing Jewish communities from Burbank to Calabasas, and so far, the answer is a resounding no -- even from some of the people who launched the idea in the first place.