On most weekdays, young boys in yarmulkes can be seen hanging out with friends in front of the new kosher Subway sandwich shop, while Orthodox women in modest dress stroll past Judaica stores and synagogues along Pico Boulevard in West Los Angeles.
Dubbed the “Kosher District” by some planners, this roughly 12-block stretch near Robertson Boulevard has exploded in recent years with restaurants, shops and religious institutions aimed at serving the neighborhood’s growing Jewish population.
But the project has sparked protests among Westside residents weary of increasing traffic and overcrowding in an already bustling neighborhood. Similar battles have erupted in Santa Monica and Beverly Hills as the area struggles with more growth.
Neighbors are threatening legal action against Chabad, an Orthodox Jewish outreach organization, over its proposal to construct a new girls school, condos, a ritual bathhouse and retail stores on the boulevard between Wetherly and Crest drives.
Rabbi Boruch Shlomo Cunin, the head of Chabad of California, said his group has been battling neighborhood opposition in one form or another across the region for the last 40 years. These days that opposition includes some of its Jewish neighbors.