History of the Alpert Jewish Community Center

The Barbara and Ray Alpert Jewish Community Center began as a converted office apartment on Third Street and Lime in Long Beach, California. It was established as the Long Beach Jewish Community Center in 1948 when half of the 6th floor of the Masonic Temple on Locust was leased to meet the needs of its 186 families. The opening ceremonies in November, 1948, attracted over 1000 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.

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