LA Times: Wilshire Blvd. Temple to Begin a Record $175-million Renovation

The Los Angeles Times reports on what may be the most expensive renovation for a Temple or Synagogue -- a $175-million renovation and redevelopment project. The work will take two years. The Times give some background on the history of the Temple beginning in 1872:
...Jewish merchants and bankers contributed toward the $1.5-million cost of the sanctuary, but movie money provided much of the synagogue's flash and dazzle.

The 100-foot-high dome was the gift of Hollywood tycoon Irving Thalberg. The dome is inscribed with the Shema Yisrael, a declaration of monotheism. (A few years ago, after a chunk of water-damaged plaster tumbled from the domed ceiling, the temple installed a white tent to catch any other bits.)

Louis B. Mayer provided the east- and west-facing stained glass windows, while Carl Laemmle donated the eight cast-bronze chandeliers designed to resemble ancient prayer spice boxes.

Most theatrical and tradition-altering of all were the Warner murals (painted on canvas affixed around the interior walls), the gift of Harry, Jack and Abe Warner in memory of their brothers Milton and Samuel. The drawings depict Jewish history from creation to the discovery of America, portrayed as a figure holding the torch of liberty.

The images of Moses, Samson, David and Elijah were painted by Hugo Ballin, head of Warner Bros.' art department. They marked the first extensive use of paintings in a synagogue since ancient times, said Stephen Sass, an attorney for HBO and president of the Jewish Historical Society of Southern California....
The Temple web site is here.

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