A Word from Sisterhood
Carole Lebental, Sisterhood President
Growing up in San Francisco, we were members of the Jewish Community Center. There was a swimming pool, various art and educational programs, lectures, and social events celebrating the Jewish holidays. We also belonged to a Reform synagogue, where we went to “Sunday School”, worshiped and celebrated various religious holidays and life-cycle events.
There are still many wonderful Jewish Community Centers. Although Long Beach has a ﬁne Jewish Community Center, and other parts of the greater Los Angeles area have Jewish Community Centers, there are none serving our area. We are not in the same Jewish Federation Council as the Long Beach Community Center, therefore, any programs that serve our South Bay Jewish community must be sponsored by the synagogues.
Sisterhood ﬁlls some of this need—with our Book Clubs, Jewish Holiday celebrations, like the Passover seder, the Hanukkah Party, hamentaschen sales for Purim, and other programs. That is a very good reason to be a member of Sisterhood and to actively participate. Temple Beth El provides educational, artistic and culinary programs in addition to spiritual and religious services, with many outreach and inter-faith opportunities.
In years past, the Los Angeles Jewish Federation Council funded an oﬃce in Redondo Beach which housed some Jewish agencies, like Jewish Family Services (where I was a psychotherapist,) Jewish Big Brothers, and others. It was not a community center. Then the Jewish Federation abruptly closed it entirely. Although no speciﬁc reason was given for its closing, the buzz was that there was insuﬃcient money raised in the South Bay.
If I had one wish for our Jewish Community of the Beach Cities, Palos Verdes, Torrance, Lomita and San Pedro, it would be for a large, comprehensive Jewish Community Center where members of all the various synagogues, plus those who are unaﬃliated could all come together. It would have programming for children, teens, adults, and the elderly. I’ve read the program information for other Jewish Centers, and I’ve been amazed and envious at what they have that we don’t.
I don’t have the solution for this, but I believe that if the Jewish Federation Council of Los Angeles were pressed to establish the same services that are available in other areas, they might come up with a facility for us.