Meet Alan Egenthal, Director of ACE Lifelong Learning Center at the Mandel JCC

The Mandel JCC’s ACE Lifelong Learning Center is the premier adult education program in the area. With over a hundred classes offered each semester, ACE’s collegiate atmosphere and format allow for participants to choose classes that interest them from politics to health to music and literature.

Alan Egenthal has been the director of the program for about nine years. He grew the program from it’s infancy in 2009 with under 50 faculty members and 80 hours of classes to what it is today at 96 instructors and over 264 educational hours. We sat down with Alan to ask him more about this incredibly successful program.

What do you love most about your being the Director of ACE Lifelong Learning?
As the director, I have had the opportunity to present education and entertainment to the adult community. The most interesting part of the job is meeting, interviewing and hiring our instructors. I often remark that this daily interaction with our faculty members has introduced me to some of the most talented and intellectual people in South Florida.

What is coming up in the upcoming season that you are excited about and why?
We are constantly adding new instructors to our faculty and receiving evaluations and recommendations from our current participants so that we can grow and improve our program. Some highlights for the winter season include:

  • Dr. Irving Berkowitz, Dean of Academic Affairs at Palm Beach State and world- renowned international expert on Jewish life will be speaking on January 24.
  • Dr. Stephen Gerzof had an overwhelming response after his fall series and is coming back this winter to present a series on “The History of Islam.”
  • Laurence Stern, a noted historian from Chicago will lecture on “The Invisible Undetected Fourth Branch of Government.”
  • Rena Blades, Executive Director of the Palm Beach County Cultural Council will be the keynote speaker at our ACE Open House on January 11.

Where do you see ACE Lifelong Learning going in the future?
The future looks quite promising for ACE. Our plans for expansion include taking our courses and lectures on the road to allow communities to take advantage of the series. All of our instructors volunteer their time to teach and on a weekly basis I receive calls from people that want to be a part of the program. It’s evident that the growth of ACE isn’t slowing down any time soon.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
When I ‘m not at work my two passions are music and softball. I am a true music purist who enjoys the tunes, artists, trivia and back stories of the 50s, 60s 70s, and 80s. In addition, I enjoy being a part of the Prime Time Senior Softball League. This competitive league offers the senior “boys of summer” the opportunity to continue their athletic careers as long as their body parts stay in relatively fine shape.

Is there anything else you want us to know?
I have a former career as a high school sports coach and worked with two athletes that went on to play in the Major League Baseball and National Basketball Association. As a coach, I love the idea of ongoing learning, practicing, and improving. At ACE we recognize that we all have past careers and experiences that we can share with one another and that both the acts of teaching and learning play a significant role in our lives at all ages.

For more information about becoming an ACE instructor or attending the Mandel JCC’s ACE Lifelong Learning Center please call Alan at 561-736-4766 or email him at AlanE@JCConline.com.



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