The last few years have brought a number of remarkable events to Downtown—I’ve been privileged to write about a few of them. A good many stories I have written have been cocooned in my semi fictional style allowing me to…well…embellish a bit here and there. But this one requires no such magic…
Now, I added blogging to my schedule of play, movie, and novel writing not because I was trying to find a way to spend the four hours left of the too little twenty-four hours in a day. Gee who needs sleep anyway? Exhaustion does indeed enhance the affect of alcohol. No. I started blogging because after thirteen-years of living in Downtown I noticed a community being born. Not to be confused with the billion dollar buildings going up, but people coming together, actually forming a vibrant Downtown community. And I think I’ll be mentioning this in future blogs so get used to it—it’s really something special and all too easy for us to take for granted. And tonight I took a moment to get a closer look at one of the most remarkable developments in this extraordinary birth process.
First, there is a Downtown Rabbi. Yeah, I know there are Rabbi’s running all around the jewelry district and there are some places for Jews to gather and say their prayers—I’m not talking about that. I mean that there is a Chabad Rabbi living Downtown with his wife and two young children. He has founded a Chabad of Downtown and now for the second year in a row he has thrown a party to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Purim at the Los Angles Theater. This Rabbi’s name is Moshe Greenwald, he’s 26-years-old and he’s a force of nature.
Second, the Los Angeles Theater is a gem that Downtown so needs to be back in fulltime service of some kind. I hadn’t been inside the theater for a few years and I’m happy to say that it still takes the breath away and it actually looks to be in better shape than it was a few years ago. There hasn’t been a complete restoration, but seemingly gradual progress in the right direction.
Third, there’s my arrival to cover this story…Most of my readers do not think of my name in the same mind set as…well…religion. Food, sex, gambling, clubs, drinking, dancing, drugs = Stan…A Purim party = anybody else. But again, until downtownster hires a few more writers…
I had to smile at the amount of food and alcohol the Rabbi and his wife had arranged for the guests—drinking is a big part of this holiday, which celebrates the Jewish victory over the evil Haman (viceroy to the Persian King Ahashverosh) while in exile after the destruction of the First Temple. The crowd numbered over a hundred, it included a busload of elderly from the Hollenbeck Retirement Home, young couples with kids, a few hip looking singles, clothing mogul Victor Mizrahi (Hard 8 Clothing), and a writer drinking a strong Jim Beam and Coke (me).
The Rabbi took a moment to greet me and introduce me to his father who had come from Long Beach to do the Megillah reading. The Megillah is the scroll read aloud telling the story of Purim. After the reading there was more food and drink, music, and a magic show, which the kids seemed to seriously go for. And as I stood in back at the bar taking in the rag-tag eclectic group of Jews I could see that the Downtown community is about to add yet another dimension—a thriving Jewish community is going to sprout out of the historic core. I smiled. All the billionaire developers with their billion dollar buildings didn’t make this happen. Hell, most of them don’t even live Downtown. But a 26-year-old Rabbi did…There’s more than Purim party going on.