Purim Festival band (copy)

The Klezmer Band at Alpert Jewish Community Center plays in March 2019 during the Purim Festival, just days before the coronavirus pandemic shutdown.

Jewish Long Beach and the Barbara and Ray Alpert Jewish Community Center, two agencies that have shared the same campus for more than 70 years, have voted to integrate into one organization to serve the Jewish and broader communities, the neighboring centers announced this week.

And this is not the first merger that has happened on the site located near the Long Beach Airport.

In 2019, the Jewish Federation and Jewish Community Foundation of Long Beach and West Orange County merged to form Jewish Long Beach. The organization, a chapter of Jewish Federations of North America, has provided resources and opportunities in the Long Beach and West Orange County communities.

Jewish Long Beach operates on the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Jewish Long Beach Campus, along with Jewish Family and Children’s Services of Long Beach and West Orange County.

“The integration process signals the dawn of an exciting and unprecedented new era for our Jewish community and its agencies,” Jewish Long Beach CEO Zach Benjamin said in a statement. “The Alpert JCC and Jewish Long Beach will become uniquely positioned to set and adjust community priorities designed to advance Jewish life in a manner that is not only deeply effective, but also efficient and sustainable for the long term.”

Their priorities are broad, according to the agencies’ leaders, and will include creating impact-driven programming, education, grant funding, leadership development and advocacy opportunities.

Recent years have brought much change to the Jewish Long Beach Campus.

In October 2019, the board of the Alpert JCC established the Future Visions Committee, tasked with exploring the integration of the two agencies. The Jewish Long Beach board signed on to the project soon after and Future Visions became a joint committee of both boards.

This past March, the committee issued a formal recommendation to both boards that the two agencies integrate. Both boards unanimously voted in favor.

“We’ve had these discussions over the years and amid the pandemic, it became very clear that this was the right decision for both organizations,” Deborah Goldfarb, who retired in 2019 as the CEO of the Jewish Federation and Jewish Community Foundation, said in the statement. Goldfarb was recruited out of retirement in August 2020 to serve as the interim executive director of the AJCC.

“We realize that this news will generate significant questions and curiosity,” Benjamin said. “Most importantly, the communities of Long Beach and West Orange County can continue to expect the same quality programming that they have always enjoyed from the AJCC. The primary differences will be in the efficiency with which our missions are carried out.”

Jewish Long Beach and the Alpert JCC will host a virtual town hall, “Dream With Us,” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 5. Leaders of both agencies will discuss the new structure, mission and vision. Residents must register in advance for the meeting at http://bit.ly/JLBxAJCC.


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