Nestled on a tree lined street just miles from the beach, North of Wilshire Boulevard in a populated but quiet Santa Monica neighborhood sits a very vibrant diverse temple called Beth Shir Shalom (BSS).
Beth Shir Shalom’s history began with a small Jewish congregation that gathered for Shabbat Services in the Unitarian Church of Santa Monica. In January of 1939, 14 congregants met in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Markowitz and discussed plans to build a synagogue. The two-story synagogue, partially funded by MGM movie mogul, Louis B. Mayer, was constructed at the northwest corner of 19th & California Streets and remains our home today.
It was then named “Beth Shalom Temple,” a shining light in the dark days leading up to WWII. The first Shabbat service was held in May of 1942. Laurence A. Block, a religion and philosophy professor at Santa Monica College, became the Temple’s spiritual leader in 1949, serving Beth Shalom for the next 28 years.
Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels was the founding Rabbi of Temple Shir Shalom, which then merged with Beth Shalom to create Beth Shir Shalom.
Through Rabbi Neil’s (now Emeritus) contemporary interpretation of ancient and modern texts, he enabled us to personalize and apply them to our daily lives. We continue to support the Rabbi’s commitment to organizations that deal with interracial and interfaith relations and homelessness issues. See our Social Action Page for more.
Whether you are 18 months old or 108 there is always something happening at Beth Shir Shalom. Join us. Schmooze, pray and learn.
Email us with a question or just to say Shalom.
Rabbi Emeritus, Neil Comess-Daniels
Cynthia Barzilai, Executive Director
Elana Mabashov, Religious Education Director
Robin Masnicoff, ECC Director
Brennan Schulweis, Office Administrator
John Schneider, Board President