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Los Angeles Neighborhoods & Sites

On my visit to the Fairfax District I was surprised to find a place of business in the midst of a bustling metropolis that still reflected its cultural heritage. I felt like I was in the melting pot with familiar fast food places at its outskirts, a giant television studio across the way, and a constant flow of traffic up and down the busy street. The businesses were smaller than I would have expected, some catering to the special needs of the Jewish community. Tiny butcher shops with special cuts of culturally acceptable meats, a book shop with special interest material, stationary stores with cards in Hebrew or Yiddish, and several different delis and ethnically diverse restaurants. I had expected to find larger stores with a more historical or tourist oriented feel like a Jewish version of Olvera Street but instead this was a living community of businesses that supported the needs of a lively immigrant group but was ready to do business with everyone. Business signs could be found in English, Hebrew or Yiddish, and Spanish. Business often bore the name of its owner. I was impressed that the area had retained its character on what is obviously now an expensive piece of real estate.

The Fairfax area is a meeting place. Many of the people I observed were older Jewish individuals, immigrants, who still have traces of their homeland in their speech. The Fairfax District is a place to renew their roots. Places like Cantor's Deli and Bakery offer a literal taste of Jewish culture to all. Klezmer music can be heard here some nights.

The Simon WIESENTHAL Center in Los Angeles is dedicated to promoting tolerance and understanding among different ethnic groups, though its primary focus is on Eastern Europe and the Holocaust. The Center features exhibits which promote the idea of tolerance by bringing photographs, historical artifacts, stories, and art work from different places. The Center also presents speakers on differen...

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