We are about to embark on a beautiful and important journey to create a more vibrant and spiritual Jewish community in west Los Angeles. With the press release going out today, we announce some of our lead gifts, including the naming of the campus by Lynda and Stewart Resnick. A story will appear soon in the Jewish Journal but we wanted to share this news and the complete press release with you in advance.
We are thrilled to be quickly approaching the July start date to renovate our beloved synagogue building and grounds in Brentwood. The designs and renderings will be ready to share with you soon and we hope you will be as excited and inspired as we are for the future of our great congregation.
Rabbi Steve Leder
Immediate Past President and Building Committee Chair
Lynda and Stewart Resnick’s $13 Million Donation will Anchor
Wilshire Boulevard Temple’s University Campus Renovation
The new Lynda and Stewart Resnick Campus Will Become a World-Class Site Serving the Jewish Community on LA’s Westside
Los Angeles (April 19, 2022)—Wilshire Boulevard Temple today announced a major plan to renovate its University Campus (formerly University Synagogue) made possible by a $13 million lead gift from philanthropists Lynda and Stewart Resnick, owners of The Wonderful Company and longtime members of Wilshire Boulevard Temple.
The gift will create the Wilshire Boulevard Temple Lynda and Stewart Resnick Campus and the Wilshire Boulevard Temple Lynda and Stewart Resnick Early Childhood Center. Work will begin this summer with the goal to be complete and opened for High Holy Days 2023.
The mid-century modern synagogue, located in the heart of Brentwood, will receive a sweeping restoration to include public spaces for worship and celebration, a state-of-the-art early childhood center, upgraded religious school, teen and adult classrooms, and social services center where members can volunteer. New and freshly landscaped outdoor areas will provide opportunities for play and contemplation in beautiful surroundings. Following the recent completion of the stunning, new Audrey Irmas Pavilion at the Koreatown Glazer Campus, Wilshire Boulevard Temple is well-positioned to take on the Resnick Campus project.
The Resnick’s cornerstone gift reflects their longstanding support of the Jewish community, their roots in the Wilshire Boulevard Temple community, and their relationship with Rabbi Steve Leder.
“This incredibly generous gift from Lynda and Stewart will move our vision into reality and allow us to create a more vibrant and creative future for the Jewish community on the westside of Los Angeles,” Rabbi Leder said. “Los Angeles is home to the second largest Jewish community in America, and this commitment by the Resnicks will help us engage our community in new and important ways. It will enable us to continue inspiring children and their parents, along with people of all ages with the wisdom, power and beauty of Torah, prayer, learning, singing, celebrating and helping others. All of that is possible anywhere, but even more so now in our Temple thanks to the generosity and vision that are at Lynda and Stewart’s core."
“We have always believed philanthropy must start close to home and that tikkun olam begins in one’s own community,” said the Resnicks. “Wilshire Boulevard Temple has been a welcoming home to our family for a generation and we are proud to support the establishment of a space that will provide that same sense for families in West Los Angeles for generations to come. At this moment in time especially, there is no greater reminder of the importance of community or our collective responsibility to give back in whatever ways we can.”
The Resnicks are the owners and visionaries behind The Wonderful Company, one of the most successful privately held companies in the world that produces and distributes iconic brands such as Fiji Water, Wonderful Pistachios, Wonderful Almonds, POM Wonderful, Halos, Justin Wines, Landmark Vineyards and more. As partners in life and business for nearly 50 years, they are dedicated philanthropists, exemplifying the Jewish values of tzedakah and tikkun olam.
Among the significant focal points of their philanthropy is California’s Central Valley where the majority of their products are grown and much of their workforce works and resides. They have taken an extraordinary, place-based approach in that region, focusing on education, health and wellness, and community building. Their work includes launching state-of-the-art charter schools, building and staffing wellness clinics, and creating recreation centers and parks in these communities.
Wilshire Boulevard Temple has raised $19.5 million of the $35 million needed for the project. In addition to the Resnicks, the Karsh Family Foundation has donated $2.5 million plus an additional $500,000 in a matching grant to name the Karsh Family Social Services Center West, the Bram and Elaine Goldsmith Charitable Trust donated $2.5 million to name the Bram and Elaine Goldsmith Religious School, and the Trudy Mandel Louis Charitable Trust will provide $1 million to name the sanctuary’s iconic stained-glass windows, which will undergo restoration. The Temple will immediately begin a campaign to raise the additional funding, with dozens of naming opportunities available to the congregation.
One of the country’s most highly respected congregations, Wilshire Boulevard Temple has been responding to the needs of the Los Angeles Jewish community since its founding in 1862 as Congregation B’nai B’rith. Today, the congregation is deeply involved in the civic life of Los Angeles. The Temple provides worship, adult programs, life cycle events, volunteer and social action opportunities, early childhood, elementary, and religious schools, as well as cultural and educational events on its three campuses: the historic Erika J. Glazer Family Campus in Wilshire Center/Koreatown, the Audrey and Sydney Irmas Campus in West Los Angeles, and the Lynda and Stewart Resnick Campus in Brentwood. Wilshire Boulevard Temple Camps also continue to inspire Jewish children as they have since 1952.