The Classical Period: 1930s-1960s
The Beverly-Fairfax neighborhood first became a residential destination for Jews in the 1930s and gradually emerged as the city’s prime Jewish area during the 1940s and 1950s. With its newly constructed houses, duplexes, and apartments, Fairfax attracted Jews from Boyle Heights who sought to relocate west of downtown.
Here, Jews built an identifiable ethnic community—for the religious and the secular, the Yiddish and the English speaking, the middle class and the lower middle class, and the foreign born and the native born—commonly referred to as Los Angeles’ “Borscht Belt” and “kosher canyon.” Describing this area in 1959, sociologist Fred Massarik wrote that, “American urban values, a cosmopolitan orientation, and Jewish tradition [gave] rise to a new form of social and economic neighborhood organization that is complex but novel non-ghetto blend.”
Explore the links below to learn more about the institutions, organizations, and general demographic conditions that helped to define life in the Fairfax neighborhood during the Classical Period: