The West Hollywood City Council joined Congregation Kol Ami for a celebration of the official unveiling of the newly named Shalom Peace Square in West Hollywood at the intersection of Lexington Avenue and La Brea Avenue. The gathering took place on Sunday, May 7, 2023, for about an hour.
The naming of Shalom Peace Square was also in honor of Israel’s 75th birthday and Congregation Kol Ami’s 30th anniversary. Rabbi Denise Eger and Rabbi Ross Levy, joined Mayor of West Hollywood, Sepi Shyne, Mayor Pro Tem John Erickson, and council members Lauren Meister, John Heilman, and Chelsea Byers at the ceremony. The event included representatives of the Israeli Consulate, and the Israel Civic Action Network who dedicated and naming of Shalom Peace Square. The presentation ended with Rabbi Ross singing a song.
A sign had already been installed at the square about a week ago, but they unveiled another sigh which was signed by the City Council and Rabbi Eger and other community leaders. There was also cake at the end of the reception. The signed sign will hang at Congregation Kol Ami.
In February 2023, a request was forwarded to staff to explore a ceremonial naming of the intersection at Lexington Avenue and North La Brea Avenue to the Golda Meir Peace Square, or the Shalom Peace Square, or something similar, commemorating Israel’s 75th Anniversary of Independence.
West Hollywood City Council joined Congregation Kol Ami for a celebration of the official unveiling of the newly named Shalom Peace Square in @wehocity at the intersection of Lexington Ave and La Brea Ave. #wehotimes #weho
— WEHO TIMES (@WEHO_TIMES) May 10, 2023
“It is so fitting that we do this in our congregation Kol Amis 30th anniversary year” said Rabbi Eger. “This sacred community has been a safe haven for LGBTQ people from its inception. It has been a reformed synagogue that speaks out for justice and hope, and yes, for Shalom peace between and among all people. And this congregation has given support to our reformed Jewish movement, and their more than 60 congregations in Israel today to the Israeli LGBTQ community as a progressive cause that strengthen the fabric of Israeli society. More than a year ago, I raised the possibility of how we could celebrate these two milestones together with former council members D’Amico and Horvath, and the possibility of maybe naming the intersection in front of our congregation in honor of Israel’s birthday. And I’m pleased that our current council–thank you–could come together to support these milestones.”
“I’m so honored to be here to speak on behalf of our city council and to just share that, when the request came in for the naming of shalom peace square, Mayor Pro Tem John Erickson and I had zero doubt that we were going to get this done on the naming subcommittee,” said Mayor Shyne. “And and city council Absolutely, unanimously approve this and the symbolism of having this named now is really, really significant. There has sadly been a enormous rise in hate and specifically anti semitism that we have experienced in the City of West Hollywood since I’ve been in office. And I know it’s been rising since 2016. And so the City of West Hollywood has and will always provide a safe space for all and specifically our large Jewish community and Israeli community.”