When Samuel Heller visited Long Beach in 1898 and decided to bring his Jewish family here, little did he know that over 100 years later the Jewish Community would be a thriving part of the philanthropic landscape.
B’nai B’rith Lodge 870, the first permanent Jewish organization, was established after World War I. Temple Israel a Reform congregation, was established in 1923.
The Conservative congregation, Temple Sinai was founded in 1924.
Jewish Welfare Fund campaigns, the predecessor to the Jewish Federation, began in 1929. The Jewish Federation of Greater Long Beach & West Orange County was established in 1947 as the Jewish Community Council and formally incorporated in 1948 with Irv Schneider as the first president. In the same year the Jewish Community Center was established with Sam Leddel as its first president, followed by the dedication of the Center’s first building in 1960.
Since 1960, the Long Beach Jewish community has grown from approximately 6,000 to nearly 20,000 and the Greater Long Beach area has become a thriving metropolis. In recognition of the growing needs of the community, a campaign to build a new Jewish Community campus was launched in the 1990’s. Today, the Federation’s Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Jewish Community Campus is home to the 80,000 square foot Barbara and Ray Alpert Jewish Community Center, Jewish Federation of Greater Long Beach & West Orange County, Jewish Family and Children’s Service, Jewish Community Foundation and Long Beach Hillel.
Over 20,000 people participate in activities in the building on a yearly basis and numerous community groups utilize the facility and collaborate with our campus organizations including the Long Beach Police Department, the California State University Long Beach School of Social Work, the Long Beach End Abuse Council, the National Council of Jewish Women, the Long Beach Unified School District, local Hadassah chapters, Westerly School, the Hebrew Academy and local synagogues.
Today, the work of the Jewish Federation continues the Jewish tradition of taking care of people in need - a tradition that goes back over four thousand years. We provide central planning, coordinating, and fundraising for local and international agencies that offer a broad range of humanitarian programs delivered through our partner agencies.