I email a friend who’s just moved to LA:
You should live in Pico/Robertson or Fairfax/La Brea if you want to do the Jewish thing… If you end up having to drive to shul on shabbos, it is a very different experience… No Orthodox Beit Din will consider you if you don’t live within walking distance of an Orthodox shul, and if you don’t go the Orthodox route, you won’t be accepted as jewish by religious Jews… I’m not saying you should believe any particular thing, I’m just saying if you don’t go through an orthodox beit din your jewish journey will be unbelievably painful and disrupted…and you’ll feel like you’re on the outside looking in. If you’ve dedicated your life to being jewish, then don’t settle for a compromise initially… I don’t think you’ve yet lived in an intense Jewish community. I hope you seize this opportunity and don’t settle for the easy way where you can just do what you like and nobody will bother you… Westwood is not very Jewish, it’s a pale imitation of a Jewish life if you live there. I have a friend who converted through the RCC. It’s serious… She studies serious torah and halacha almost every day for more than two years now. Nobody anywhere will question her Jewish credentials. She can go on a Birthright Israel trip or through Aish HaTorah. All Jewish gates are open to her because she’s proved herself.