Staff Spotlight:: Susan Paletz
Susan Paletz: Celebrating 25 years!
Susan Paletz grew up at the Long Beach JCC. She was involved with teen programs, summer stock (she made her debut as a bird) and she was extremely active in BBYO (BBG). She went to Chapman University Semester at Sea, a phenomenal experience traveling around the world for seven months. This experience, Susan explains, is “what really shaped me and motivated me to get involved with a non-profit. Seeing different cultures and different challenges that people around the world were facing really made an impression on me and I wanted to give back.”
Susan graduated from San Diego State with a B.A. in Psychology, and she took graduate classes in Education at Cal State Long Beach. Susan met her husband Mark at a Jewish singles dance in San Diego and they have been married for 33 years. They have two sons, Jeffrey and Michael, who spent their formative years at the JCC in preschool through teen programming.
Susan started at the J as a teacher in the preschool. She was only there for a year when Lynne Rosenstein (former Assistant Director) offered her the position as the Camp Director. She was in that position for 10 years, from 1992-2002. She then became the Adult Director and was in that position until 2007 when she moved into her current position as the Director of Program Development and Community Engagement. This September marks her 25th year at the J!!
“It’s been the best job and the best experience because it’s not just a job—it’s my life,” says Susan. “It’s a community that I feel so much passion for. I love meeting all the new people that come through the door. I like helping staff and supervising them and helping them grow into their positions. I enjoy all the programming, but some are my all-time favorite programs, like the Women’s Weekend and the Adult trips. The Israel/Poland trip was life changing and set me on a new course here at the JCC as far as Holocaust education and our connections to Israel.
“I also enjoy working with staff in the Youth and Teen Department and looking into new programs and opportunities for the Adult Department. I’m particularly passionate about how to engage adults of all ages with the JCC and each other. I definitely want to see more Israel trips for adults and families to help connect people living here in California to Israel. It’s such an amazing country.
“One of the many reasons I have stayed at the J for so many years is because of the wonderful staff. I have worked with Jeffrey Rips for over 20 years in the many positions we have both had over the years. I appreciate the collaboration that Jeffrey and I share in building Jewish life and culture for the Long Beach community. I have built lifelong friendships with people here. I come to work every day and feel like I am coming to my second home. I can’t imagine working anywhere else.”
Thank you, Susan, for everything you have done for the Alpert Jewish Community Center. Your dedication and love for this wonderful place shines through in everything that you do.