We celebrate over 70 years in the Greater Long Beach area, raising over $60 million to support Israel, overseas Jewery, local Jewish organizations and our campus.
In 1929 across the country Jewish Welfare Fund campaigns, the predecessor to Jewish Federations, began. Here in Long Beach, we had our first campaign for United Jewry in 1937. Under the chairmanship of attorney Nathan Nagel, who came to Long Beach from Detroit, the campaign raised $3,900.
Only 10 years later, in 1947, the Long Beach Jewish Community Council was established to continue raising funds for the now called, United Jewish Welfare Fund. In this year, as the U.N. approved the partition for Israel to become a state – locally we hired our first Executive Director, Hirsh Kaplan, started a semi-monthly newspaper, The Long Beach Jewish Community Council News, with Sidney A. Hartmann as editor, and the United Jewish Welfare Fund campaign raised $101,531.
The Council was formally incorporated and recognized by the IRS, in 1948, with Irv Schneider as the first president. In the same year, the Jewish Community Council helped establish the Jewish Community Center, with Sam Leddel as its first president.
It was a very important year. The Freedom Train stopped in Long Beach and the problems in Palestine dominated the news. The organization of the 1948 United Jewish Welfare Fund Campaign, generated by the heroism of the security forces in Palestine, and in preparation for the mass exodus of European D.P.’s, gathered the momentum of a genuine people’s movement. The 1948 Campaign, more so than any previous fund-raising effort, had the wholehearted and stimulating endorsement of the entire Jewish community.
The 1948 Campaign had no individual chairman, but had three co-chairs: Charles Savitz, Irving Schneider and Murray Greenwood. They created a Women’s Division, a Men’s division and added a Youth Division, and raised a record $190,835. We also provided the funding for the first Jewish Community Center – the entire 6th floor in the Masonic Temple on Locust Avenue.
In 1957 the Long Beach Jewish Community Council created a Jewish Family Services program, at the urging of the National Council of Jewish Women and hired Mrs. Joshua Marcus as its first director. The program was evaluated after 6 months as so successful, it became what is today known as Long Beach Jewish Family & Children’s Service. The United Jewish Welfare Fund raised $135,000.
The next year, in 1958, the City of Long Beach approved the sale of a parcel of land at Willow and Grand for $52,000 to the Long Beach Jewish Community Council for a new Jewish Community Center. The Council raised $255,000 towards the new center. Additionally, the United Jewish Welfare Fund raised $110,000.
In 1959, Ray Carl was selected to chair the campaign to raise the final $150,000 needed for the new center. Over $500,000 had already been raised. The United Jewish Welfare fund raised $188,000.
Ray and the community were successful as the new building was dedicated in 1960, with Irving Kern, Vice President of the Long Beach Jewish Community Council presided over the dedication program. The blessing of the cornerstone and building dedication included Sam E. Leddel, President of the Council, Morton J. Gaba, Executive Director of the Council, Abe Tenebaum, Chairman of the United Jewish Welfare Fund, Sam Rosak, Center President, Rabbi Sidney S. Guthman, and Rabbi David Kohn, of Lakewood Congregation.
The following year, 1961 the Long Beach Jewish Community Council became the Jewish Community Federation and the United Jewish Welfare Fund raised $220,000.
1962 saws plans for both a Jewish Free Loan Fund and creation of a Jewish Foundation. The Jewish Education Committee of the Jewish Community Federation, along with Synagogues and Temples, began Sunday sessions of the New Central Hebrew High School. Mr. Moshe Hovav was the first teacher to the 34 boys and girls that enrolled. $220,000 was raised for the United Jewish Welfare Fund.
In 1963 the Jewish Community Federation raised $236,000 for the United Jewish Welfare Fund. The Federation also began a campaign to raise $600,000 to burn the mortgage for the Jewish Community Center, as well as build the long overdue health club and an auditorium.
Also, the charter is signed for the Federation Free Loan, which will be administered by Jewish Family Service. Those signing the charter, were Ted Phillips, Nat Newburgh, Irving Weinberg, Charles Litwin, Judge Max Z. Wisot, Federation President; Eugene Chernoy, Nathan Schulman, Revan Komaroff, Samuel Gladstone, Bernard Miran, Executive Director of the Jewish Family Service; Irving Schneider, Monte Adams, Morton J. Gaba, Federation Executive Direcotr; Dr. Robert Nevin and Irving Kern.
The 1964 United Jewish Welfare Fund campaign raised $250,000.
1965 Gene Lentzner becomes the president of the Jewish Community Federation. The United Jewish Welfare Fund campaign raised $243,000.
In 1966, the Long Beach Jewish Community Federation Foundation was created with a lead gift from Dr. Moskowitz. The United Jewish Welfare Fund campaigned raised $240,000. Sol Frankel was appointed as the new Executive Director.
The next year, 1967 saw the United Jewish Welfare Fund campaign raise $252,000. In addition, with war imminent in Israel (to become known as the 6-day War) there was an Israel
Emergency Appeal that raised $140,000 as part of a national $150,000,000 campaign. There were 700 community members that filled the new auditorium and shared information and raised the funds.
More to come………………………………………………..