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Blutinger Appointed Inaugural Barbara and Ray Alpert Endowed Chair for Jewish Studies

Published: September 15, 2010

Jeffrey Blutinger, an associate professor of history and expert in 19th-century Jewish intellectual history, has been named the inaugural Barbara and Ray Alpert Endowed Chair for Jewish Studies at CSULB for the 2010-11 academic year.

The endowed chair is the result of a $1 million donation from Ray and Barbara Alpert to the CSULB Jewish Studies Program in 2008. The university named the endowed chair in perpetuity in their honor.

As the Alpert Endowed Chair for Jewish Studies, Blutinger will be charged with cultivating the academic vitality and fiscal security that are essential to the CSULB Jewish Studies Program. At the same time, he will help provide students with opportunities to study the entire breadth of the Jewish experience over the last four millennia.

“Ray and Barbara’s gift has secured the future of Jewish Studies at Cal State Long Beach,” Blutinger noted. “Their leadership has given us the resources to continue to grow and expand the program, particularly in the areas of teacher training and community education. I am deeply honored by this appointment.”

The CSULB Jewish Studies Program offers 20-plus courses each year, hosts a speakers’ series, brings guest lecturers into classrooms, participates in various forums, and organizes campus symposia. The program also works with many Jewish organizations such as the Long Beach Jewish Film Festival, local synagogues, and other religious and cultural organizations.

“We are very pleased with the selection of Dr. Blutinger as the first Alpert Chair of Jewish Studies,” Ray Alpert noted. “In his role as co-director of the Jewish Studies Program, we have known Dr. Blutinger for several years, and we believe he is an ideal choice to lead the program as it begins to expand its efforts through the addition of this newly created position.”

Besides giving to the Jewish Studies Program at CSULB, the Alperts also helped fund the Long Beach-based Alpert Jewish Community Center which provides programs and services that contribute to the development of individuals of all ages and offers opportunities to enhance an appreciation of Jewish and democratic values in Long Beach and West Orange County.

Barbara Alpert

Photo by David J. Nelson
Jeffrey Blutinger (r), the inaugural Alpert Chair for Jewish Studies at CSULB, poses with Barbara Alpert (c) and Gerry Riposa, CSULB’s dean for the College of Liberal Arts.

“Ray and Barbara Alpert are truly champion advocates for the Jewish community with a focus on developing an awareness for Jewish culture and respect for its history,” said CSULB President F. King Alexander. “Their continued generosity to this effort is a tribute to their commitment to expand the spectrum of knowledge of the Jewish community.”

Alpert & Alpert Iron & Metal Inc., was launched in Los Angeles in 1930 by brothers Herman and Mandel Alpert. Ray and his brother-in-law Jake Farber joined the business in 1950. By 1980, their sons Howard Farber and Alan Alpert, had joined the company, becoming the third generation in the business. The company is now a large non-ferrous metal recycling company that operates around the world.

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, the program is widely recognized for its dedication to advancing interdisciplinary analysis of Jewish history, religion, thought, culture and literature.

“The Jewish Studies Program at Cal State Long Beach has the ability and the personnel to enhance the understanding of the history, language, culture and other related areas of the Jewish experience,” Barbara Alpert said. “It’s wonderful to contribute to a program that will help the next generation of educated citizens understand and appreciate this great heritage.”

–Rick Gloady