Ten years after its creation, the Jewish studies program at Cal State Long Beach has received a $1 million endowment for a chaired professor.
Barbara and Ray Alpert, whose name is on the Long Beach Jewish Community Center they heavily support, donated the funds for the new faculty position, The Barbara and Ray Alpert Endowed Chair in Jewish Studies.
"The Jewish studies program is an important department for the university, one that can enhance the understanding of history, especially the Holocaust and its implications, as well as the study of language, ethics and other related areas," Ray Alpert, whose father co-founded Alpert &Alpert Iron &Metal seven decades ago, said in a statement.
"It's wonderful to contribute to a program that helps students understand and appreciate this great heritage, history and culture, a program that attracts students from all over the world," Alpert added. "Our hope is that our contribution will further the growth of the program for years to come."
University President F. King Alexander and Jewish studies faculty said the Alperts' donation would help the program expand both in size and scholarship. The program, which offers a minor and major in Jewish studies, provides more than 20 courses annually, hosts a speakers series, invites guest lecturers and organizes campus symposia.
"This gift," said Jeffrey Blutinger, program co-director and a professor of Jewish history, "will have a profound impact."
-- Brad A. Greenberg, Senior Writer
Wells Fargo Donates $10,000 to SOVA
In response to increasing demand at SOVA's three food pantries, Wells Fargo has donated $10,000 to the program of Jewish Family Service (JFS).
As The Journal reported last month, the downturn in the economy has hit Jewish social service organizations from both sides: Resources are declining because of higher gas and food prices and decreased public and private funding, which coincides with increasing demand.
SOVA Community Food and Resource Program, which provides food, counseling and referral services for Jews and non-Jews from locations in the Valley, the Fairfax district and the Westside, has seen monthly client visits double since 2002. June's 5,600 visits were the most since November, a historically high-traffic month because of Thanksgiving.
"With demand soaring and donations declining, our local food banks are in desperate need of support," Shelley Freeman, Wells Fargo regional president, said in a statement. "Wells Fargo is encouraging corporate leaders in greater Los Angeles to donate time and money to the regional food banks to see them through this crisis."
For more information about SOVA, call (818) 988-7682 or visit www.jfsla.org/sova.
ADL Publishes Spanish-Language Version of Its Israel Advocacy Guide
Continuing outreach to Latinos, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has published a Spanish-language version of its Israel advocacy guide.
The 85-page guide provides a glossary of terms, background on major moments in Israel's history -- the British Mandate, the Oslo accords, the Second Intifada -- and facts for countering anti-Israel messages. "Israel: Una Guía para el Activista," according to the ADL, also "identifies common inaccuracies about Israel and offers strategies for getting the facts to elected officials, the media and around university campuses."
"With the ongoing conflict in the region, there are those who continue to level unfair and inaccurate accusations against Israel," Abraham H. Foxman, ADL national director, said in a statement. "The Spanish-language edition of the guide is a critical resource for those in Latin America, Spain and Spanish-speaking communities worldwide who wish to counter those misconceptions."
With their swelling American influence and higher frequency of anti-Semitism, Latinos have been of increasing interest to Jewish leaders. (The Pew Hispanic Center reported last year that 44 percent of Latinos held favorable views of Jews, compared to 77 percent among all Americans.)
For the past 15 years, the ADL's Los Angeles office has brought Latino and Jewish leaders together through its roundtable dialogue. The American Jewish Congress last year hired a Latino outreach director to focus on business leaders and politicians. In addition, last fall, the American Jewish Committee celebrated Sukkot with a number of Latino pastors, some of whom the organization took to Israel this May.
"Assimilation works," Amanda Susskind, ADL's regional director, said last year. "Going to schools with Jews, going to different parishes, learning about diversity in the school system and on the playground actually changes the way Latinos look at Jews. It is nothing genetic. It is just what they learned. But they can de-learn."
The guide was published in English in 2001. The Spanish-language edition can be downloaded at http://www.adl.org/latino_affairs/.