The Barbara and Ray Alpert Endowed Chair in Jewish Studies

December 17, 2010

Ray and Barbara Alpert generously donated $1 million to the Jewish Studies Program within the College of Liberal Arts to endow The Barbara and Ray Alpert Endowed Chair in Jewish Studies in perpetuity. This gift is an important asset for the College, cultivating academic vitality and assuring fiscal security essential for the Jewish Studies Program. By providing funds in perpetuity, the endowed chair will help the College to hire, retain, and support a top professor specializing in the field; fulfilling the Center’s mission of providing students with opportunities to study the breadth of the Jewish experience over the last four millennia.

“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,” said Ray Alpert. “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. Our hope is that our contribution will further the growth of the program for years to come. We are pleased to now be a part of this process.”

The Jewish Studies Program was established in 1998, expanded in 2002 to include both a major and a minor, and in 2006 launched CSULB’s first Jewish Studies Scholarship. Today, under the leadership of The Barbara and Ray Alpert Endowed Chair in Jewish Studies, Dr. Jeffrey Blutinger, an expert in 19th-century Jewish intellectual history, the program is widely recognized for its dedication to advancing interdisciplinary analysis of Jewish history, religion, thought, culture, and literature. The program also works with many Jewish organizations, such as the Long Beach Jewish Film Festival, The President’s Forum on International Human Rights, local synagogues, and other religious and cultural organizations.

Barbara and Ray Alpert have been contributing meaningful gifts and service to the Long Beach Jewish Community for many years. They have touched not just the Alpert Jewish Community Center but also the Jewish Federation, Jewish Community Foundation, Hillel, Jewish Family and Children’s Service, ADL and most recently, the Jewish Studies Program at CSULB.

Ray was co-owner with his brother-in-law, Jake Farber, of Alpert & Alpert Iron & Metal, Inc., a Los Angeles metal recycling company founded in 1930 by Ray’s father, Herman, and his uncle, Mandel Alpert. The business was turned over to the third generation recently. Barbara and Ray both became engaged in the Jewish community through participation on various community boards. They also have been involved in community affairs such as California Conference for Equality and Justice Board and industry trade associations.

Barbara and Ray Alpert currently reside in the Long Beach area and have three children and seven grandchildren.