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December 2, 2010

The Daily Beast’s dumbfounding list of most Jewish cities

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/the_daily_beasts_dumbfounding_list_of_most_jewish_cities_20101202/

If you were ranking the most Jewish cities in the United States, Los Angeles would be somewhere near the top. Right?

Not if you’re the Daily Beast. Here were the top eight of an absolutely dumbfounding list of 30 Jewiest cities:

New York
Miami
Philly
Boston
Washington
Hartford, Conn.
Cleveland

...

Los Angeles

It’s hard to know what the knocks on Los Angeles are (besides the traffic, earthquakes, fires and cost of living). The Daily Beast’s metric quite arbitrarily limited itself to three factors, measured per-capita: Jewish population, synagogues, and kosher restaurants.

So what’s wrong with LA? Is it that Jews only account for 4.1 percent of the population? That’s still higher than Hartford (2.9 percent)—Hartford? Really?! And never mind that 4.1 percent of 4 million is, well, a lot.

Is 90 not enough kosher restaurants? We have Langer’s—what else do you need?

Maybe it’s that LA ranks 30th among the cities the Daily Beast looks at in terms of synagogues per capita. But if covering the Los Angeles Jewish community taught me anything, it’s that there is a lot of Jewishness that exists outside of the place where Jews worship.

This list also fails to consider any of the many things that makes LA a very Jewish town. There is the Jewish culture: the Skirball Center and all of Hollywood. There are the pioneering and influential rabbis: Sharon Brous, Naomi Levy, Marvin Hier, David Wolpe and others included in this list come to mind. And, as I already mentioned, there’s Langer’s. Not to mention the AJU, HUC-JIR and the non-denominational rabbinic seminary; two Holocaust museums and the Shoah Foundation; a massive Israeli community; Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Encino, Pico-Robertson and Hancock Park. Did I mention Hollywood?

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