Wilshire Boulevard Temple

The Wilshire Boulevard Temple

For decades, the city’s oldest Reform congregation was the most powerful synagogue in the United States. Chief Rabbi Edgar Magnin was not just “rabbi to the stars” and a pal to entertainment moguls, he was also a friend of presidents and helped swear in both Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. TV legend Lucille Ball would consult with the temple’s beloved Rabbi Alfred Wolf for moral consultation on movie and television scripts.

Though it has expanded to West LA, the temple’s membership is perhaps no longer the Hollywood who’s who it once was. It nevertheless attracts a largely wealthy and powerful membership, including a couple of the best-known executives of top talent agencies CAA and ICM, whose help will no doubt be required for an ongoing $100 million restoration of its cathedral-like main auditorium with a massive dome originally paid for by legendary MGM producer Irving Thalberg. Generally a bit camera shy, the temple did manage to appear on a third-season episode of “Entourage.” It turns out that series creator Doug Ellin’s brother is a member, though Rabbi Steven Z. Leder was quick to point out he’d never seen a full episode of the raunchy series.

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