Malinow and Silverman Mortuary, located in Los Angeles, California is highly experienced in Jewish funeral service. The firm is well-versed in all customs and practices and can accommodate any family, from the most traditional to the most secular.
The Southern California mortuary has a long history that spans back nearly 100 years. In 1927, Nathan Malinow and Nathan Simons founded Malinow and Simons Mortuary to serve the burial needs of the growing Jewish community in Southern California. Then, in the early 1940’s Nathan Malinow began transitioning the business to his son, Alvin. At that time, he also asked his son-in-law, Morton Silverman to join the business as well. In 1946, Alvin and Morton became partners, and the business was renamed Malinow and Silverman.
In 1984, Alvin and Morton made the decision to sell the business to a growing death care corporation known as Service Corporation International (SCI). Although Morton stayed on as an employee, the sale essentially ended what had been nearly 60 years of being a family owned business. Under the ownership of SCI the business changed locations multiple times. In 2004, SCI sold Malinow and Silverman to long time manager Randy Ziegler, thus returning the mortuary to being family owned and operated. In 2016, Randy began to look at pursuing other interests and sold the business to Eric and Susan Rothman, the present owners.
“I got into the funeral business completely by accident,” begins Eric Rothman, Owner and Funeral Director with Malinow and Silverman Mortuary. “In my early twenties, I moved to Southern California from the east coast after finishing up college where I studied television production. When I first got to California, I took the first job I could find to establish myself while I figured out what I was going to do with my life. It was a job as a first call driver for a mortuary. I had no idea what the position really entailed when I took it, but 30 years later I haven’t left the industry,” Eric recalls.
Over the years Eric worked for two of Southern California’s largest Jewish firms. Throughout his 20 years of service, he gained knowledge and experience by working in senior management before he made the decision to purchase Malinow and Silverman. Eric had been wanting to go out on his own for some time and this was his perfect opportunity.
“The Los Angeles Jewish funeral business is really unique. There are three large combos that dominate the industry here because over the years they absorbed many of the smaller independent operations. There are a few cemeteries that have Jewish sections and there are a few small funeral homes, but the industry is mostly run by these three combos which have the majority of market share. The only independently owned one, that is not dedicated to the Orthodox Jewish community, is Malinow and Silverman,” explains Eric.
When Eric and his wife Susan bought the business in 2016, they knew they had some work to do. The current location was very outdated and the business itself was in desperate need of some reshaping and reinventing.
“Competing with the big combos was becoming impossible when we first bought the business, so we sat down to evaluate the business model. We noted one main issue many families were having right away. Due to the overwhelming size of Los Angeles, many families had space in a cemetery, but didn’t have arrangements made and had to schlep to the mortuaries which was a hassle in an already difficult time. So, we decided we would come to them and market ourselves as a boutique mortuary,” Eric describes. “Nobody wants to go into a funeral home or mortuary, it’s hard and it’s so unfamiliar, so we eliminated that aspect of our business,” Eric says honestly.
With so many funeral homes today doing everything they can to make their space “feel like home” for their families, Malinow and Silverman decided to think outside of the box and meet with families in their homes to discuss arrangements in a place that doesn’t just feel like home, but is home. This aspect of the business is what really sets the LA mortuary apart from others and makes families feel the most comfortable.
With all arrangements being made at the homes of families and services being performed at chapels on the cemetery grounds, Eric quickly realized they had no need for the large property where the business was located.
“We decided to downsize a bit and moved the business to a storefront with much less space. It has everything we need: a prep room, storage, and back office. The public does not come into our physical location, we go to them – the smaller space just made more sense,” states Eric.
The business model of Malinow and Silverman doesn’t exist anywhere else in the Jewish community of Southern California, so that aspect paired with their nearly 100-year history in the area makes for a very strong presence. Families are drawn to the mortuary’s unique approach to making arrangements and are impressed by their ability to remain a front runner in funeral service decade after decade.
“Our families absolutely love our approach. Every once in a while, we have someone who isn’t comfortable with having a stranger in their home, so we meet at a local coffee shop or restaurant. We have others who just prefer to do everything over the phone, and we offer that option as well. Whatever our families need, we make happen. They are already going through a difficult time and we want to tailor the process to their needs to make their lives easier,” adds Eric.
Eric’s experience in the LA Jewish community spans nearly 30 years, alongside his wife Susan who has been in the business for 15 years, they are an unstoppable pair. Susan worked for many years in cemetery and funeral sales for one of the big players in the area. Together, Eric and Susan offer their community unique and quality service backed by years of experience.
“This is very much a family business. She handles more on the preneed side and I handle the at-need side of things, we have a little overlap sometimes and we make a great team,” says Eric.
Another reason Malinow and Silverman has been so successful over the years is the team of dedicated staff members that are knowledgeable and passionate beyond measure. With everything in the business being cloud based, Eric spends many days working from home because he trusts his team to handle everything on site.
Thinking back to when he first purchased the business, Eric recalls his decision to reach out for help from American Funeral Consultants as being a pivotal aspect to the deal.
“I knew I needed somebody to help me in the process in addition to my lawyer and accountant. I looked at some of the bigger companies, but they were just too big for me and more than I needed. Per a recommendation from someone, I got in contact with a guy in the Midwest who ended up taking my retainer and then never returned my calls or answered my emails, it was a huge disappointment,” Eric recounts. “So, when I had no idea what to do, I came across an ad for American Funeral Consultants in a trade magazine and decided to give them a call. They were so fabulous, and I would recommend them to anyone. They are attentive and nothing ever slipped through the cracks. They organize and present everything so beautifully and advised me in a way that gave me great confidence. They really turned it around for me and helped me get to where I needed to be,” states Eric.
Looking forward to the future, Eric is excited to continue to grow the business and serve his community. It’s clear that Malinow and Silverman Mortuary has it figured out. Lead by Eric and Susan and backed by an amazingly passionate team, this local business will surely continue to grow its 100-year-old roots deeper into the community. Through their hard work and ability to change with the times, they have proven that a small, family-owned and operated business can do a lot more than just compete with the bigger firms, they can come out on top and flourish.
“I am so excited for us to officially hit 100 years of service in 2027. It’s been an honor to be a part of something that’s been around in Southern California for decades and I am excited to continue the legacy,” Eric says proudly. FBA