Magnin, Edgar Fogel

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MAGNIN, EDGAR FOGEL (1890–1984), U.S. Reform rabbi and communal leader. Magnin was born in San Francisco to a well-known mercantile family. He was ordained at Hebrew Union College (1914). After a year as rabbi in Stockton, California (1914), Magnin led Congregation B'nai B'rith, called from 1929 onward the Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Los Angeles, which grew under his leadership from 400 families to 2,000 to become one of the largest and most influential congregations in the country. During his tenure, the landmark building on Wilshire Boulevard that still serves as the home of his congregation was built and opened. His service to the congregation coincided with the dramatic expansion of Los Angeles Jewry in size and in influence. Outspoken, colorful, forceful, Rabbi Magnin was for many decades the unofficial voice and representative of the Los Angeles Jewish community in a variety of religious, governmental, social, educational, and cultural organizations and institutions and the leading voice of West Coast Reform Judaism. He was an early pioneer in Christian Jewish dialogue. During World War ii he represented the Jewish Welfare Board and traveled to combat zones under the auspices of the National Conference of Christians and Jews. Within the Jewish community he was a leader in the Los Angeles Jewish Community Council, Cedars-Sinai Hospital, University Religious Conference, Los Angeles Hillel Council, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and B'nai B'rith, among many others. Rabbi Magnin was a lecturer in history at the University of Southern California (1934–55) and at the California School of Hebrew Union College. The graduate school at huc in Los Angeles is named the Edgar F. Magnin School of Graduate Studies. Deeply involved in political life, he delivered a prayer at the first inauguration of Richard M. Nixon in 1969. Author of How to Lead a Richer and Fuller Life (1951), he was columnist for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner and the Anglo-Jewish weekly Heritage. The street in front of the temple is name Edgar F. Magnin Square.

[Max Vorspan]