FAIRFAX COMMUNITY MURAL
by Art Mortimer, with Steven Anaya and Peri Fleischman.
Assisted by Fairfax High School Students and local Senior Citizens.
The mural was funded by the Youth Department of the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles and the Vitalize Fairfax Committee.
This mural is a history of the Jewish community in Los Angeles. It starts at the left end with historical images and progresses to the right in seven panels.The seventh panel, on the right, shows scenes of life in the Jewish community around Fairfax Ave. today (1985). All the images are painted from historical photographs.
Included are scenes of Jewish participation in community life, institutions, businesses, significant cultural and historical events, and scenes from people's personal lives.
First Panel (at left), the Beginnings, 1860s :
• The first synagogue in Los Angeles.
• The first rabbi in Los Angeles.
• An early Jewish business in Los Angeles.
• A prominent early Jewish family.
Second Panel, late 19th Century:
• A Los Angeles street scene showing a Jewish business.
• A prominent Los Angeles banker of the era.
• A Jewish family’s barrel-making business.
• A home for tuberculosis patients that later evolved into what is now Cedars Sinai Hospital.
• The first Jewish sheriff of Los Angeles.
Third Panel, early 20th Century:
Actors in a truck to travel to location for filming of the first full-length movie made in Hollywood: “Squaw Man,” made by the Jesse Lasky Feature Play Company. The director, Cecil B. DeMille, is seated on the fender at left.
• Children receiving instruction in one of the first Hebrew schools in Los Angeles.
• The home of one of the first Jewish families to live in Boyle Heights.
• Al Jolson as a rabbi in ‘The Jazz Singer’.
Fourth Panel, 1930s:
• Canter’s Delicatessen’s original location in Boyle Heights.
• Albert Einstein and a local rabbi with their bicycles in Los Angeles.
• An elaborate Jewish wedding of the period.
• Garment worker’s protest in downtown Los Angeles.
• A Los Angeles newspaper article describing a meeting of Jews to protest Hitler’s activities in Europe.
• A Jewish woman who won a gold medal at the 1932 Olympics held in Los Angeles.
Fifth Panel, 1940s:
• A school bus and students at a Jewish school in Los Angeles.
• A Los Angeles women’s group’s Clothing Campaign to assist war sufferers in Europe.
• A cutout billboard by the United Jewish Welfare Fund on Wilshire Blvd. proclaiming that Jews must live in freedom.
• The father of one of the organizers of the mural project, who served in the U.S. Navy in World War II.
• A group of Hadassah women boarding a train in L.A. to take them to a Hadassah conference in Sacramento.
Sixth Panel, 1960s:
• A Jewish Youth group parading in front of nearby Fairfax High School affirming their support for the peace movement.
• A program in the Hollywood Bowl to raise money to help Israel during the Six Day War.
• The first woman rabbi in Los Angeles.
• A synagogue on the beachfront in Venice, at that time home to a large Jewish community.
• Sandy Koufax, pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Seventh Panel, Fairfax today, 1985, on right:
• A view of Fairfax Avenue near the mural, looking north toward the Hollywood Hills.
• A view of the mural in progress, showing scaffolding and workers painting the mural.
• Two orthodox Jewish men shaking hands while shopping on Fairfax.
• Women selecting produce at a market on Fairfax.
• Local residents at a bus stop on Fairfax.
Restored by MCLA in 2012. Photo: © Isabel Rojas-Williams