Stephen J. Sass, Chairman
As a long-time volunteer in local historic preservation efforts, Stephen J. Sass has a demonstrated commitment to the protection of the rich historic resources of Los Angeles County.
He is Vice Chair of the Los Angeles County Historical Landmarks and Records Commission, representing the 3rd Supervisorial District. He is the author of several articles on historic and neighborhood preservation issues and has presented at annual conferences of such groups as the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the American Planning Association and Grantsmakers in the Arts. He has also been a consultant on exhibits at such institutions as the Japanese American National Museum and the Autry Museum.
Sass has also long been active as a lay historian of the Jewish community of Southern California. He’s served as president of the Jewish Historical Society of Southern California since 1989, and as founding president of its subsidiary, the Breed Street Shul Project, since 1999.
JHS documents and creates awareness of the history of the local Jewish community, which dates back to 1841. It collects archives, photographs and oral histories; sponsors exhibits, publications and guided tours focusing on the architectural and cultural heritage of Jewish Los Angeles and the West and works to preserve historic landmarks such as the Breed Street Shul, the last remaining synagogue in the Boyle Heights neighborhood. In reinventing Breed Street Shul as an active center for arts, culture, education and service, Steve has worked with elected officials at all levels of government and such groups as Los Angeles Conservancy, California Cultural and Historical Endowment, California Endowment, California Historical Society, California Preservation Foundation, California State Office of Historic Preservation, CRA-LA, FEMA, Getty Trust, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Save America’s Treasures, and Society of Architectural Historians.
Steve was executive producer and co-writer of “Meet Me at Brooklyn & Soto,” JHS’ award-winning documentary on East L.A.’s Jewish heritage, which aired on KCET. He chaired the Fairfax Community Mural Project, which resulted in a photo mural in the heart of the Beverly-Fairfax neighborhood highlighting L.A.’s Jewish history painted by seniors and teens.
Steve was editor of Jewish Los Angeles - A Guide, recognized by the Council of Jewish Federations as “Best Publication” and for which he personally received the Jeremiah Award, the top volunteer honor conferred by the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. In 2011, he was one of the first two recipients of KCET’s “Local Heroes” Award recognizing contributions to the Jewish community and to Los Angeles as a whole. He has served on the boards of the Jewish Federation, the Jewish Federation-Valley Alliance, the Jewish Community Relations Committee, Congregation Beth Chayim Chadashim and was on the founding board of The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles.
A native Angeleno, Steve is a graduate of USC, where he majored in journalism and religion (Judaic studies), and of Loyola Law School. While at USC, he was editor-in-chief of the Daily Trojan. While in law school, he worked for KFWB and City News Service.
Professionally, Steve is Senior Vice President, Legal Affairs, for Home Box Office, Inc. He has worked in similar executive positions for Universal Studios, NBC and Comedy Central.