The 300 block of North Clark Drive has a new name: Herzl Way.
Herzl Way is named in honor of Theodor Herzl (1860–1904), an Austro-Hungarian journalist considered to be the founder of Zionism, a movement that advocates for a Jewish national state in Israel. The move also reflects Beverly Hills' recent partnership with a sister city in Israel, Herzliya, recently renamed after Herzl as well.
A motion to rename the block was proposed by Mayor Jimmy Delshad and approved in a 4-1 vote by City Council at their February 2 meeting. Delshad and Jacob Dayan, Israeli Consul General of Los Angeles, officially unveiled the block's new name in a ceremony on May 2, which would have been Herzl's 150th birthday.
At the unveiling, Delshad touched on the personal significance of this event.
"As a young man my family immigrated to Israel from Iran," he said during a speech. "I never dreamed that one day I would be here as the Mayor of Beverly Hills, recognizing the visionary of the State of Israel, Theodor Herzl."
The council opted against a formal renaming and instead made the block-long Herzl Way a ceremonial change, avoiding the involved and costly process required for a formal street renaming.
Informal renaming specifies that the street maintain its official designation for mailing and address purposes but allows for additional signage to recognize the new name, as has been done for Fred Hayman Place and William Morris Place.
At a Jan. 12 meeting, the council heard arguments for and against the renaming. Though some argued such honors should be reserved for figures central to Beverly Hills' history, several councilmembers, including Delshad and John Mirisch, noted Herzl's role as a symbolic hero for Beverly Hills' largely Jewish population.
"The fact of the matter is," Mirisch argued, "Herzl has touched the lives of many of our residents."
Nancy Krasne, who cast the single opposing vote in February's meeting, argued against the renaming due to her belief in the separation of church and state.
Delshad originally proposed a different location for Herzl Way: the circle adjacent to Will Rogers Park where North Beverly Drive, North Canon Drive, and Lomitas Avenue meet. However, in the January meeting, Councilmember Barry Brucker, whose wife is the president of Temple Emanuel, proposed North Clark Drive's 300 block as a preferable location due to its proximity to the temple.
Since Temple Emanuel and its associated school building and daycare center are the only properties on the block, it was simply necessary to secure the synagogue's approval, which happily obliged.
"The congregation was delighted," Temple Emanuel Rabbi Laura Gellar said. She added that the new address "now reflects where our heart and soul is—with Israel."
Though the official mailing address of Temple Emanuel remains 8844 Burton Way, Gellar now tells people to find them "at the corner of Herzl Way."