36 years ago, on a hot July day in Laguna Beach, Orange County welcomed its first ever Jewish Community Center. Founded by Polly Sloan and a group of strongly motivated volunteers, the center was an enormous success, bringing in Jews from all over the county. In less than three years, in May of 1980, it had raised enough funds to go from renting a tiny storefront to buying its own building. As member Sylvia Ranish wrote “All we wanted, all we hoped for, was that it was important for Jewish people to stay Jewish, to stay in touch with their Jewishness.” Given the success of our community today, they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.
Photo Caption: Shalom newsletter, Laguna Beach, July 1977