Orthodox Jews among candidates running for SoRo neighborhood council seats

Four Orthodox Jews are among the candidates running in the Oct. 28 election for the board of South Robertson Neighborhood Council (SoRo), the 10-year-old organization that aims to give residents and stakeholders in the neighborhood a voice in community and city decisions.

One of 95 neighborhood councils in the City of Los Angeles, SoRo covers a stretch of the city that includes the Pico-Robertson neighborhood, which has a high concentration of Jewish residents and Jewish-owned businesses. SoRo extends from Beverly Hills to Culver City; Motor Avenue and La Cienega Boulevard are the Western and Eastern boundaries, respectively. 

Eighteen candidates are running for the 14 open seats on the 25-member board. In presentations at SoRo’s most recent meeting on Oct. 18, each of the four Orthodox candidates cited a desire to increase SoRo’s profile in the local Orthodox Jewish community as part of the reason for running for the board. 

SoRo has had a say on matters of interest to the Jewish community in Pico-Robertson, most notably on matters of land use and development. Expansion projects by the Museum of Tolerance, the Yeshiva University Los Angeles (YULA) high schools, and Temple Beth Am’s Pressman Academy have all been subjects of discussion at SoRo in recent years. 

The existing SoRo board does have Jewish members, but no Orthodox Jews are currently on the board.

Though they are all Orthodox, the SoRo board candidates come from different segments of that community. Bloom is very active in his Chabad-affiliated synagogue. Bethie Kohanbash, who is running for an at-large seat, described herself as an Orthodox Persian Jew. Kevin Gres, who also goes by Arie, attended YULA Boys High School, and is running for the open seat representing Zone 1, which traverses Pico Boulevard. David Mattis, who is also running for one of two at-large seats, is a relative newcomer to Los Angeles, having lived here for only four years.

All of these candidates have at least one other candidate running against them; Mattis and Kohanbash are running along with one other candidate, Garr Montalbano, for two open at-large seats. Montalbano was not present at the Oct. 18 meeting. 

For more information, please visit http://www.soronc.org/.