Jewish Long Beach Offers Free Year-Long Leadership Development Opportunity

The Alpert New Leaders Forum is accepting applications and is meant to foster new local Jewish leadership.

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Kristen Naeem | Signal Tribune

Barbara Alpert's family members retold their favorite stories about her to the crowd at her public memorial on Tuesday, Nov. 26 at the Alpert Jewish Community Center.

Jewish Long Beach is accepting registrations for its Alpert New Leaders Forum (ANLF), meant to nurture new leaders for the Jewish community. The program is open to those of all ages and will expose participants to the skills needed to take on leadership roles in synagogues, agencies and other nonprofit organizations.

ANLF was created with funding provided by the late Barbara and Ray Alpert, philanthropists and members of the local Jewish community.

ANLF consists of a free year long leadership development series for aspiring Jewish leaders in Long Beach and West Orange County.

Those enrolled will participate in discussions, learn skills and have hands-on educational experiences.

ANLF will be transitioning to a virtual platform, and monthly classes will be scheduled soon.

“The program is not just about leadership skills,” Sharon Kenigsberg, director of community development at Jewish Long Beach, said. “ANLF offers participants a deeper understanding of issues facing the Jewish community locally, nationally, and globally. Our graduates are effective leaders in Jewish organizations partly because they are aware and up-to-date on these matters.”

Educational topics covered in the series include:
• American Jewish History and Contemporary Jewish Issues
• Board Responsibility and Service
• Leadership Communication Styles
• Introduction to the Greater Long Beach Jewish Community
• Understanding U.S.- Israel Relations
• Philanthropy: What’s In It for You?
• A Jewish View of Social Justice

ANLF also provides opportunities for social networking, Jewish cultural enrichment and social action.

“It is critical to our mission as the convener of Jewish Life in Long Beach and West Orange County to help advance our community’s Jewish institutions not solely through fiscal contributions but by helping groom the next generation of knowledgeable and capable Jewish leaders,” Zach Benjamin, chief executive officer of Jewish Long Beach, said. “Our Alpert New Leaders Forum, along with the Lentzner Fellows mentoring program, is the primary means through which we accomplish this.”

Past ANLF students have gone on to join the boards of various organizations, such as the Jewish Family and Children’s Service, Jewish Long Beach, Alpert JCC, Hillel, Hebrew Academy Huntington Beach, Temple Israel, Beth David, Temple Beth Ohr, Temple Beth Shalom, Shul by the Shore, and Congregation Lubavitch, sometimes as board president.

“The most valuable benefits of attending the Alpert New Leaders Forum was learning about all of the Jewish organizations in Long Beach, meeting people from each of the organizations and learning how they all work together,” ANLF alumnus Rachel Suojanen said. “The experience provided a depth of field of the Jewish community by putting us among local Jewish leaders who spanned generations. We learned from these pillars of the community that they began their involvement like us—step-by-step.”

Suojanen participated in ANLF in 2015-2016, and is a teacher at Long Beach Poly High School. A year after completing the program, she began a project at Poly that supplied low income students with prom dresses that had only been worn once before. The project eventually benefited 120 girls throughout the Long Beach Unified School District in 2019.

“I knew who to call to help me and had connections I met through the Forum,” Suojanen said. “We had plans for the 2020 Prom Boutique with nonprofit partners including a foster care agency, and we were collecting suits for the boys too before prom was canceled.”

Those who wish to apply to ANLF can do so online. For more information email [email protected] or call 562.426.7601 ext. 1008.