Welcome to the Alpert Jewish Community Center on the Weinberg Jewish Long Beach Campus
Mission, Vision & Values
Our Mission: To provide programs and services that contribute to the sound development of individuals of all ages and to offer opportunities to enhance an appreciation of Jewish and democratic values in Long Beach and West Orange County.
Our Vision: The Alpert Jewish Community Center is a Jewish neighborhood and gathering place that is the heart of Jewish learning and activities, designed to improve its members’ lives in conjunction with their family, synagogue, local organizations, and the general community.
Our Values: We will fulfill our mission by operating the AJCC with these shared values:
Provide a neighborhood gathering place, foster fellowship among all people, and work cooperatively and in partnerships with other organizations in the Jewish and general community.
Promote the spiritual, cultural and ethical values of Judaism, and provide Jewish learning and living experiences that enhance one’s sense of identity.
Listen to and are sensitive to the needs of our members, volunteers, staff, and the community.
Provide the highest quality programs and services, facilities, and staff that meet the social, recreational, cultural, educational, and wellness needs of our members.
Value the partnership of strong lay and professional leadership which enables us to plan collectively to achieve our goals.
Maintain the trust of the community by operating within our budget, strive to become financially self-sufficient, and transform the AJCC into a pro-active organization that succeeds in all endeavors.
Meet the Executive Director
Jeffrey Rips is the 7th Executive Director in the 70-year history of the Alpert Jewish Community Center, but the first of those seven to have attended the preschool at the Alpert JCC. Jeffrey says the Alpert JCC should be “Your Center for Life”, and he exemplifies that motto. Growing up, Jeffrey spent many years running the halls of the J (much to the dismay of those who worked there). Many years later he met his wife Lauren when they both worked summer camp at the J.
Jeffrey’s main professional goal has always been, and continues to be, to build community while enhancing the lives of those around him. He has accomplished this through his over 30 years of working in the Jewish non-profit sector, the past 11 at the Alpert Jewish Community Center. Jeffrey’s connection to our community runs deep. He graduated from CSULB in Psychology (Go Beach!), and later became the Executive Director of Beach Hillel, helping to build community, implementing leadership programs, and providing social, cultural and educational programs for the Jewish students on campus.
Jeffrey has always been community minded. Through the years he has coached countless youth teams, served on many youth sports boards, participated in scouting commissions, and spent 6 years on the Rossmoor Community Services District Board.
The only thing Jeffrey loves more than working at the Alpert Jewish Community Center is his family. He and his wife Lauren have three children. Their daughter Ellie recently graduated from CSULB, and is now working for Houston Hillel (yes, Texas) and is beginning her own journey of building community. Jeffrey and Lauren also have twin sons. Joshua is a sophomore at ASU’s Barrett Honors College where he is studying finance. Jacob, who is one of only 10 selected as a Jacobs Scholar for the Jacobs School of Engineering at UCSD, is also starting his second year.
Jeffrey is an avid Angels baseball fan who enjoys going to theater, hiking in Yosemite, traveling, playing games at family game nights, watching a good movie, and is known by his co-workers, family, and friends as a pun-master (the jury is still out if that is a good thing).
Board of Directors (2019-2020)
Dr. Matt Davis, President
Joyce Greenspan, Vice President
Beth Sterling, Vice President
Barry Zamost, Vice President
Ava Weiss, Treasurer
Joy Wadleigh, Secretary
Genevieve Brill Murphy
Danielle Van Divort
Amber Vera Mendoza
AJCC Executive Director
The History of the Alpert Jewish Community Center 1948 to 2019
FIRST QUARTER CENTURY: 1948-1973
People: The Long Beach Jewish Community Center was established in August 1948 by action of the Long Beach Jewish Council, Hirsch Kaplan, Executive Director, Sam Leddel was elected president of the Center and served until 1954. Succeeding him, Sidney Penn served until 1957; Sam Roska, 1957-60; Elbert Kronick, 1960-62; Emanuel Gyler, 1962-64; Norman Gottlieb, 1964-66; Paul Hillinger, 1966-68; Stanley Goldin, 1968-70; David Kashinsky, 1970-72; Roselle Sommer, 1972-74.
Principal members of the professional staff were Gerald Bealor, Activities Director from 1945-51, succeeded by Bernard Wall, who served until 1959. In that year, Mort Gaba became Executive Director of the combined Jewish Community Council and Center. In 1960, Gerald (Jerry) Bubis became Executive Director of the Center, serving until his resignation in 1967. He was succeeded by Mervin (Merv) Lemmerman, who served until he resigned in 1974.
Places: In 1946, the Jewish Community Council had an office, converted from an apartment, on Third Street at Lime Avenue. When the Center was established in 1948, half of the sixth floor of the Masonic Temple at 835 Locust Avenue was leased to meet the needs of its 186 membership units, representing 744 individuals. Opening ceremonies on November 6 and 7, 1948, attracted over 1,000 people. The total budget for the first year was $15,750 with family memberships at $12 annually and youth memberships at $3. Less than a year later, needing more room, the growing organization leased the entire 6th floor for its activities, but it was soon apparent that even this would not be adequate, and in 1952 the Center moved to a converted furniture store at 2026 Pacific Avenue, while also purchasing a lot at 25th Street and Pacific for construction of a new building. Fund-raising for this purpose began in 1953. Later a community survey revealed that the lot location did not match the geographical distribution of the growing Jewish community, so that lot was sold and a 3-acre lot was bought near the Traffic Circle in 1954.
By 1957 the campaign for a new building revived as the Jewish population of the area continued to grow, but it was now clear that the site near the Traffic Circle was too small, so it was sold and an 8-acre parcel of land at the corner of Willow and Grand was purchased from the City. Construction officially started on November 27, 1958, and the Center Building opened in the summer of 1960, just 12 years to the day from the opening ceremonies at the Masonic Temple site.
Programs: With the opening of the new building and under the vigorous leadership of Jerry Bubis and Merv Lemmerman, each of whom served as Executive Director for 7 years in succession, programming boomed in every possible way. But the foundation had been laid even earlier. In its very first year of existence, the Center started a summer day camp, conducted at the Camp Seahawk facility near Colorado Lagoon. Two 4-week sessions enrolled 45 campers, at a fee of $20 each, thus beginning the ongoing tradition of Camp Kadiman. The addition of more programs aimed at slightly older children, tweens and teens followed, with Travel Camp and the Summer Stock programs beginning in 1963. Nursery school classes also started early in the 1960s, laying the groundwork for a growing Early Childhood Education program that really flourishes today.
Young people have always been a focus for Center programming, especially in the summer and school vacation periods, but adults have not been forgotten judging by the wide variety of activities available including educational, cultural and recreational activities as lectures, classes, concerts, art shows, and travel programs. But maybe the most popular for adults revolved around theatre — the “let’s put on a show” syndrome dating back to the Center Players in the early 60s. They not only produced a play or plays almost every year, but also on occasion the exciting and memorable Front and Center extravaganzas.
Another segment of the Jewish community, seniors, also began to benefit from programs initiated in the early 70s, frequently with funding from federal or state agencies and also frequently in partnership with other agencies such as Jewish Family Service or National Council of Jewish Women. Several of these programs, such as Project Outreach, SOS and RSVP, provided services for the elderly, particularly the poor, off the Center premises, usually in downtown Long Beach.
In 1971, the Center inaugurated a symbolically striking and satisfying occasion: the first of the Senior Adult Seders on the second night of Passover in the Center itself. Not only was a meal and a service provided in the Center, but special Passover meals were delivered to Jewish nursing home patients and to others in the area who could not get to the Center. The very next year saw the inauguration of another Center celebration of a Jewish holiday, the Hanukkah Happening.
SECOND QUARTER CENTURY: 1974-1999
People: Presidents for the Center were Jules Robbins, 1975-77; Adrienne Stein, 1977-79; Bonnie Krasner, 1979-81; Shimon Kaufman, 1981-83; Don Saltman, 1983-85; Jessie Butler, 1985-87; Bette Weinberg, 1987-89; Toby Rothschild, 1989-91; Rita Zamost, 1991-93; Yolanda Eisenstein, 1993-95; David Tillman, 1995-97; Rosecarrie Brooks, 1997-99.
During the tenure of the first dozen presidents, the Center retained just one Executive Director, Joseph (Joe) Parmet, who had served one year as Assistant Executive Director before his appointment in September 1973 to the top job at the Center. So long (more than 25 years), so faithfully, so conscientiously had he served that for many people, Joe was the Center.
So, having led this Center through a quarter century of increasing relevance to the life of this community, having trained a staff to continue and enlarge ongoing programs as well as create new ones, and having seen the planning for a new building that would bring all this work to fruition, Joe Parmet announced he was ready to retire. He would stay on, however, until a new Executive Director was hired. The community expressed a small part of its thanks to him by the overflow crowd that turned out for his tribute, “Sunday in the Park with Joe,” on May 3, 1998. In addition to the picnic, entertainment, and speeches, the day marked the establishment of the Joseph Parmet Scholar-in-Residence Endowment Fund. On July 1, 1998, Michael Witenstein became the Center’s new Executive Director.
Places: In 1990, the combined boards of the Center, Family Service, and Federation met to begin planning a new facility, a campus, to house their offices and programs. Finally, after the years of planning and re-planning, and always the soliciting of funds, the Center sponsored its last formal occasion, “The Last Splash Reunion,” at the JCC pool on August 24, 1997. One month later, on September 28, 1997, we celebrated the first formal ceremony for the building to be — the groundbreaking activities for the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Jewish Community Campus and the Barbara and Ray Alpert Jewish Community Center. The community now had the people and the place to take it not only into the next century but indeed into the new millennium.
Programs: Always, however, the success of the Center will depend on how well it meets, anticipates, or perhaps even creates community needs. The Hanukkah Happening, for instance, continues to happen for years to come.
The Center also included just about the largest and most varied display of menorahs imaginable, filling the Center lobby. The first Senior Adult Seder also met an important community need and indeed a responsibility. Not only has it continued to be held every year, but over the years the Center has organized additional sederim for other groups who need to feel at home in the community: single adults, single parents, the Lesbian and Gay Havurah, and a Russian family seder.
Groups with a particular social agenda or those that did not fall into the traditional family patterns were welcomed in various ways. In 1976, for example, the Center established a new membership category for single-parent families. Also that year, “The Group” reorganized as LBJS Singles, and in 1987 the first Dinner for 12 Strangers was offered. The Young Couples Club for married couples was organized in 1977 and an outreach program to intermarried couples was started in 1992.
In 1987, the CHAI Club was started (CHAI = Capable Handicapped Adult Individuals). Also in 1987, the Center initiated courses in Krav Maga — Israeli martial arts — and in the Art of Massage. Other innovative courses such as scuba diving followed. And if that was too strenuous, members could participate in the poolside dinner programs. For those who wanted exercise for the mind, the Maimonides Society started in 1986 featuring lunch and a talk with an invited resource person each month for the Michael Segal Adult Discussion Group.
By 1993, instead of waiting for a monthly program, you could enroll in the Institute for Jewish Learning, which offered a whole buffet of mini-courses, as many as you wanted all for the one low price of $4.99. Children and their parents had lots of choices presented for them: in 1979, a new kindergarten Extended Day program; in 1980, a Cub Scout troop; in 1981, a Brownie troop; and in 1991, A Kid’s Place, an afterschool program for children in grades K-6 began.
THIRD QUARTER CENTURY: 2000-Present
People: Presidents for the Center were Karen Strelitz, 1999-2001; Dr. Marc Tamaroff, 2001-03; Laurie Raykoff, 2003-05; Gordon Lentzner, 2005-2007; Edie Brodsky, 2007-2009, Lynne Kass 2009-2011, Steven Gordon (2011- 2014), Michael Rosen (2014-2015), Eli Ben-Shmuel (2015-2018), and Matt Davis (2018-present).
In 2003, a new Executive Director Jeff Antonoff, was hired. Between 2003 to his departure in 2013 the Center has improved its overall financial condition by balancing its budget for several years. Membership has grew to more than 2100 units, and the Center expanded its range of services by adding a Young Adult Coordinator for Gesher City, the ECE Ethical Start Program, Kids University, the Jewish Film Festival, the Jewish Book Fair and many other innovative programs and activities.
In November 2007, a Business Plan was created under the leadership of Andy Pieter and Gordon Lentzner, and in January, 2009 a three year Strategic Plan was completed to guide the AJCC into the future. Five task forces were established to direct the Center in marketing, leadership development, staff development, program development and resource development. Collaboration and enhancing Jewish purposes were important themes that were identified to help frame the work of all of the Task Forces.
Laurie Raykoff, Gordon Lentzner, Edie Brodsky, Lynne Kass, Steve Gordon, Michael Rosen, and Eli Ben-Shmuel played critical roles, as Presidents during the past two decades, to strengthen and grow the AJCC as an important service provider in the Long Beach Community.
In July 2013 our current Executive Director Jeffrey Rips was hired. Jeffrey has focused on fiscal responsibility, budget management, upgrading of our financial software, participation in the JCCA biennial benchmarking process, navigating safety and security issues, and overseeing enhancements to our aquatics program. During the summer of 2018, the Alpert JCC hosted the international Maccabi ArtsFest program in conjunction with the Maccabi Games at the Merage JCC in Orange County. The ArtsFest program brought together an amazing team of community members to host hundreds of out-of-town guests and took a massive coordinated effort and fundraising campaign spearheaded by Joyce Greenspan, Howard Weiss, and staff member Susan Paletz.
General Information: (562) 426-7601
Rick Arciniaga, Controller, x1321
Kathleen Wilcox, Accounts Receivable, x1617
Herlina Fraher, Senior Accountant, x1017
Maria Casselberry, Accounting Associate, x1517
Early Childhood Education
(562) 426-7601 x 1090
Emily Gould, ECE Director, x1091
Rachel Gordon, ECE Business Manager, x1092
Jeffrey Rips, AJCC Executive Director, x1011
Sandra Oliva, Executive Assistant x1414
Fitness & Wellness
Elsie Bennett, Fitness & Wellness Director, x1056
Ignacio Berumen, Aquatics Manager, x1020
Personal Training, x1242
P.E. Courtesy Desk — x1051
Fitness Office, x1242
For Job Inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Jewish Life & Culture
Dana Schneider Chanzit, Director of Jewish Life and Culture, x1067
Natalie Chernik, Director of Operations, x1074
Marketing and Communications
Tamara Hauser, Marketing Director, x1613
Kelly Hamilton, Marketing Coordinator, x1521
Courtesy Desk, x1051
Shlomit Jackson, Membership Director, x1035
Aaron Wiggs, New Membership Aquisition Manager, x1714
Jeremiah Brubaker, Member Retention Manager, x1320
Susan Paletz, Director of Development & Special Projects, x1012
Retired & Senior Volunteer Program
Gayle Ehrenberg, RSVP Director, x1013
Irene Velasquez, Special Events and Rental Manager, x1421/202
Senior Adult Programs
Dr. Susan Mathieu, Senior Adult Coordinator, x1721
Youth and Camp
Emily Madison, Youth and Camp Director, x1205
Brandon Murray Assistant Director Youth and Camp, x1023
Cecelia Danziger, Youth Department Administrative Assistant, x1024