LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The century-old Breed Street Shul in Boyle Heights is getting a new lease on life thanks to millions in dollars championed by California's Jewish and Latino lawmakers to renovate the historic landmark.
Nearly $15 million in state funding was announced Tuesday to transform the historic, cultural monument into a multipurpose space and highlight the rich and diverse immigrant history of the Latino and Jewish communities in the Boyle Heights neighborhood.
"The Breed Street Shul is a powerful symbol of the shared immigrant experience that connects so many communities across California," Assemblyman and chair of the state's Legislative Jewish Caucus Jesse Gabriel said in a statement. "Transforming this historic landmark will provide us with a unique opportunity to celebrate our shared history, build bridges, and strengthen cooperation and dialogue between the Latino and Jewish communities in los Angeles.
The former synagogue dates back to 1915, but the building facing the street was built in 1923. When it was built, there was a thriving Jewish population in Boyle Heights, which at the time was known as Brooklyn Heights, and the Shul served as a hub for Jewish life in Los Angeles from the 1920s through the 1950s.
Its buildings began deteriorating in the 1980s due to neglect, vandalism, and earthquake damage. Once the largest Orthodox synagogue west of Chicago, its final services were held in 1996.
The Shul's original 1915 building reopened in November 2011, but more work was needed for the historic landmark.
"The Shul once served as a place of worship and a community hub over half a century ago, and with this allocation, we can turn this beautiful and historic building into a cultural and community center once again," Assemblyman Miguel Santiago said in a statement.
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