City of URLs

Unless you know where to look, the World
Wide Web can sometimes feel more like a black
hole than cyberspace. The following are some of
the best websites Jewish L.A. has to offer. This
is a highly subjective decision, but I’ve used a
few criteria, namely, how does the page look, is
it easy to use, and has it been updated recently?
So, during the Jewish Web/Net Week (Feb. 22-27,
it will be raining anyhow, so why not spend some
time at the computer), visit The Jewish Journal’s
web page (
) — where you’ll find this article complete with
active links.

To find these web pages, I enlisted the help
of “At L.A.”, (
a site with a vast set of directories to almost
everything online in L.A. Looking under Religion:
Judaism, I went to,
where I found a diverse and nearly comprehensive
list of Jewish sites. Another very helpful site
in this search was,
which is a listing of synagogues from the Jewish
Genealogical Society of Los Angeles.

My Top Picks
Valley Beth Shalom
All around great site, great organization, looks
great, sounds great, links for both congregants
and visitors — you can hear the rabbis talk,
find out what’s going on and which services are
offered. It proves that a synagogue doesn’t have
to hire a professional designer or spend a ton of
money to make a bang-up site, this one is
volunteer run.
Temple Beth Sholom of Orange County in Tustin.
On the other hand, this is what a synagogue site
can look like when someone hires a high-end
designer. It is beautiful, with fancy graphics,
and some real content. Like “Grandma Zelda’s
Kitchen” — a recipe exchange bulletin
board. It also has a place for congregants to
post messages to each other. A terrific site.

Anshe Emes Synagogue
From the
looks of it, the webmaster of this site is very, very enthusiastic. The site is
innovative, with a bulletin board, video of lectures and, above all, a sense of
humor! There is a link to a detailed Parshat HaShavuah page, with the suggestion
that it be printed and used as a discussion guide for the Shabbat

Honorable Mention
Ohr HaTorah
Ohr HaTorah’s site is well organized, updated
frequently, useful for both members and
non-members, and not too vast, containing just
the right amount of information for a quick
Temple Ami Shalom in West Covina
Useful and well-organized, the page contains the
temple bulletin online and is updated often.
Overall, a good, manageable page clearly done by
a dedicated individual.

Two JCCs, Long Beach and West Valley, have web
pages that are worth a visit:
Long Beach JCC
A dynamic page, with current information,
creative presentation and
some levity.
West Valley JCC
a well-organized, informative,
in-out-nobody-gets-hurt page.
Sholem Community
For secular Jews, the Sholom Community’s web page
is just as impressive as most synagogue pages. It
is well maintained with up-to-date information.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center/Museum of Tolerance
Admittedly a very attractive site, with
information on the museum and the programs of the
center but not terribly interactive. It is a
major resource on “Swiss banks which failed
to return monies and material possesions to
Holocaust victims and their heirs.”

Also of Interest
Kosher Restaurant Guide
Hosted on Shamash, that venerable workhorse of a
Jewish website, this bulletin board is for
listing and locating kosher restaurants. Search
by city, type in Los Angeles and you’ll find 34
entries. A great service.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles
With Super Sunday coming, take a look at the
Jewish Federation’s site, a starting point for
learning about this vast and essential
organization. Israel Aliyah Center, Los Angeles
Thinking about making aliyah to Israel? This
well-designed site is a resource for those
interested in moving to Israel from L.A.
Temple Beth
Ami in Santa Clarita
Yes, there are Jews there. This gets my vote for
the most haimish site. Turn down your speaker
volume before you get there, though. Homespun,
but welcoming!
Congregation Shomrei Torah in West Hills
A somewhat utilitarian site, but it has the
standout feature of links to congregants pages —
a great idea! Temple Etz
Chaim in Thousand Oaks
Check out the youth department page, with a fun
interactive picture, which would appeal to kids
(well, I liked it).
For one of the coolest Jewish images I have ever
seen, look at the Jewish Deaf Community Center’s
Dec. 1997 newsletter on line, then find someone
who knows sign language to help read it.

These are just a few of the hundreds of sites
put up by Jewish organizations in Los Angeles. Do
your own search, and find your own way through
Jewish cyberspace.