And now for something at least a little bit different. Instead of cowering in our shoebox apartments in the middle of yet another COVID winter, we have decided to renew our occasional tradition of running away from home for a week and putting out our beloved magazine from someplace new. And instead of choosing another gloomy Eastern European capital where the ghosts of the past lie heavily upon the present, we have decided to give ourselves—and you—a break, and go somewhere sunny and American, where we will meet new people, visit new places, and return with fresh ideas about what it means to be Jewish in a moment of often-wrenching national and communal redefinition.
Specifically, as so many distinguished New York Jews have done before us (see: Steely Dan, Annie Hall, et al.), Tablet has decided to flee west, to the land of beaches and palm trees, where bagels and lox are exotic fare, and any idiot can have a house with a swimming pool. It was here that a bunch of Jewish garment cutters fled the long reach of U.S. trademark law and established the glittering dream palace of Hollywood, which is arguably the most influential Jewish cultural creation since the Bible. It was here that Clive Davis threw his glittering Grammy parties, and a pair of talent agents named David Geffen and Elliot Roberts helped create the echt-LA sound of canyon rock. Last time we checked, there was still a Jewish old age home on the boardwalk in Venice Beach. So what’s not to like?
Well, for one thing, there’s the fact that all of the stereotypes invoked in the preceding paragraph are wildly out of date. Movie studios are owned by banks now. Elliot Roberts is dead, ahlav ha’shalom. LA Jews these days are more likely to have fled Tehran or Moscow than Brooklyn. The truth is that most of us know very little about 21st-century Jewish Angelenos, only that there are more than half a million of them. Whoever they turn out to be, we look forward to helping you get to know them better.
From the editors of Tablet Magazine.