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Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel records
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Preferred Citation
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Custodial History
  • Processing Information
  • General
  • UCLA Catalog Record ID
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement
  • Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
  • Separated Materials
  • Existence and Location of Copies
  • Related Materials

  • Language of Material: Multiple languages
    Contributing Institution: UCLA Library Special Collections
    Title: Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel records
    Creator: Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel (Los Angeles, Calif.)
    Identifier/Call Number: LSC.2340
    Physical Description: 42 Linear Feet (53 boxes, 7 cartons, 6 shoe boxes, 14 flat boxes, 1 tube, 1 oversize flat box, 1 oversize folder)
    Date (inclusive): 1905 to 2017, bulk 1920-2005
    Abstract: Collection consists of records from the organized Sephardic Jewish community of Los Angeles and other materials related to Sephardic life in 20th century Los Angeles.
    Language of Material: Primarily in English and Ladino. Some materials are in Spanish, Hebrew, and French.
    Physical Location: Portions of the collection stored off-site. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. All requests to access special collections materials must be made in advance using the request button located on this page. Oversize materials (Boxes 76, 78, 79, 83) held on-site. Box 69 held on-site for preservation reasons.

    Conditions Governing Access

    Open for research. All requests to access special collections materials must be made in advance using the request button located on this page.
    Access to digital materials is available on-site in the Special Collections reading room. Requests to access digital materials must be made at least 2 days in advance. Once request has been made, please confirm viewing arrangements with Special Collections reference desk staff.

    Conditions Governing Use

    Property rights to the physical objects belong to UCLA Library Special Collections. All other rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel records (Collection 2340). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library. University of California, Los Angeles.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Gift of Alex Rachmanony, STTI President, 2016.

    Custodial History

    Materials in this collection were collected by Maurice Hattem and an archival team made up of members of STTI. The bulk of these materials were collected in the 1980s.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Max Daniel in 2018-2019 under the supervision of Courtney Dean in the Center for Primary Research and Training (CFPRT).  Earlier inventory work done by Chris Silver, Caroline Luce, and Joanna Chen Cham at STTI in 2015.


    This collection forms part of UCLA's Sephardic Archive Initiative.  

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 8832343 

    Biographical / Historical

    After centuries of established life on the Iberian Peninsula, Jews were formally expelled by Spanish royal decree in 1492. With many refugees settling in North Africa and the Ottoman Empire, these Jews developed a distinct Sephardic (meaning Spanish, in Hebrew) culture and community that included the retention and development of a unique hybrid language, known as Judeo-Spanish or Ladino. At the outset of the 20th century, these Sephardic Jews sought better futures elsewhere, such as in sub-Saharan Africa, Western Europe, South America, and the United States. In search of economic opportunity and respite from political turmoil in the crumbling Ottoman Empire, many of these Sephardic Jews found their way to Los Angeles, a rapidly growing commercial and industrial metropolis. Throughout the century, the Sephardic community in Los Angeles would expand and come to include Jews from various backgrounds, notably North African, Israeli, and Persian Jews. By the end of the century, Los Angeles had solidified its status as a center of Sephardic life worldwide.
    The Comunidad Sefardi de Los Angeles (Sephardic Community of Los Angeles) was officially formed in 1920 by a few dozen young immigrant men, though its roots go back to 1912 with the formation of Ahavat Shalom (Love of Peace). Catering to members from cities along Turkey's Mediterranean coast - like Istanbul, Bursa, and Izmir - these organizations were simultaneously religious, social, cultural, and economic in nature. Soon after in 1921, another Sephardic organization, Haim vaHessed (Life and Kindness), was formed and later changed its name to the Sephardic Brotherhood. The center of Sephardic life was to be found primarily in and around downtown until the 1930s, when it moved southwest towards South Los Angeles and the Exposition Park area. The Community's synagogue, Tifereth Israel, was inaugurated in 1932 and built on Santa Barbara Avenue, now Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. In 1959, a congregational merger created the Sephardic Community and Brotherhood of Los Angeles. Beginning in 1967, plans for a new temple in Westwood were underway that were ultimately realized during a final dedication ceremony in 1981. Over time, the organization and synagogue names would both be identified as the Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel (STTI), as it is known at the time of processing (2019).
    Parallel to and closely intertwined with STTI is another Sephardic congregation in Los Angeles that was formed in 1917 as Sociedad Pas i Progreso (Peace and Progress Society) and consisted mainly of Jews from the Island of Rhodes. In 1935, after inaugurating a synagogue in South Los Angeles at 55th St. and Hoover, they changed their name to the Sephardic Hebrew Center. After moving their temple to Ladera Heights in the late 1960s, SHC changed their name to Sephardic Beth Shalom in 1992, only to merge with Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel (STTI) in 1993.
    These organizations each had their own women's groups - known as Sisterhoods or Ladies' Auxiliaries - that catered to their members' social, philanthropic, and communal needs. Through the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Brotherhood, Community, Sephardic Hebrew Center, and their corresponding women's groups joined together in a short-lived Council of Sephardic Organizations, which mainly coordinated fundraising and social events.
    Other Sephardic organizations represented in this collection are the Maccabeans - a semi-independent young adult group - and the Sephardic Benevolent Society, alongside the Los Angeles Sephardic Home for the Aged (LASHA) and other local, national, and international Sephardic and Jewish organizations, programs, and groups.

    Scope and Content

    The Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel records consist of materials related to the Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel (STTI) and its lay and religious leadership and congregants, as well as items of broader relevance to Sephardic and Jewish life in Los Angeles, California, the United States, and abroad. The collection includes organizational records, such as board meeting minutes, correspondence, event programs and tribute journals, publications, ephemera, photographs, scrapbooks, subject and research files, assorted awards and honors, 1/4 inch audiotapes of Sephardic, Balkan, and Turkish music collected by Emily Sene, and VHS and audiocassettes of STTI events. The bulk of the collection is in English and to a lesser extent Ladino.


    This collection has been arranged in the following series and subseries:
    • Series 1: Institutional records, 1920-2017
      • Subseries 1.1: Minutes, 1920-2005
      • Subseries 1.2: Building and financial records, 1929-2017
      • Subseries 1.3: Organizational records, committee records, and official correspondence, 1920-2009
    • Series 2: Publications, newsletters, and programs, 1932-2015
      • Subseries 2.1: Newsletters and publications, 1946-2015
      • Subseries 2.2: Programs, yearbooks, events, 1932-2015
    • Series 3: Subject files, 1905-2014
      • Subseries 3.1: Maurice I. "Bob" Hattem papers, 1922-2005
      • Subseries 3.2: Personal files, 1911-2014
      • Subseries 3.3: Place files, 1905-2003
    • Series 4: Photographs, scrapbooks, and clippings, circa 1910-2004
      • Subseries 4.1: Photographs, 1910-2001
      • Subseries 4.2: Scrapbooks and clippings, 1910-2004
    • Series 5: Audiovisual, 1951-2004
      • Subseries 5.1: Sene collection, 1953-1980
      • Subseries 5.2: Other audiovisual materials, 1951-2004
    • Series 6: Awards, artwork, and ephemera, 1911-2002
      • Subseries 6.1: Awards, plaques, certificates, drawings, 1911-2002
      • Sub-eries 6.2: Ephemera, 1913-1990

    Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

    CONTAINS UNPROCESSED AUDIO AND AUDIOVISUAL MATERIALS: Materials will require assessment and may need further processing for safe access. All requests to access special collections materials must be made in advance using the request button located on this page.
    PORTIONS OF THIS COLLECTION HAVE BEEN DIGITIZED. Please consult digital facsimiles instead of originals.

    Separated Materials

    Ladino books have been individually cataloged in the UCLA Library online catalog. Records for these items may be found by searching this keyword string: "Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel records."

    Existence and Location of Copies

    PORTIONS OF THIS COLLECTION HAVE BEEN DIGITIZED. Please consult digital facsimiles instead of originals.

    Related Materials

    Western States Jewish History Archive (LSC 1739).  Available at UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Sephardim -- California -- Los Angeles
    Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Archives