[by Phyllis Shaikun]
Jacob Spielberg, a 17-year-old junior at Kentucky Country Day School, is the recipient of the 2012 Ellen and Milton Cantor Israel Scholarship.
He has been a very active member of Louisville BBYO, having served as president of Drew Corson AZA for two terms along with many other board positions over the past three years. Jacob has participated in numerous BBYO international conventions such as CLTC, IC (international convention), Kallah and recently was elected to be a member of a regional teen delegation to attend an AIPAC Conference in Washington, D.C.
Most recently, Spielberg was on the planning committee for J-Serve and helped plant the garden at the JCC in order to provide a harvest of healthy food for the JFCS Food Pantry and Shalom Tower residents. His passion for sports has led him to be instrumental in bringing back sports to BBYO by planning the first AZA regional basketball tournament to be held in Louisville in many years. The tournament commemorates the chapter’s namesake, Drew Corson.
For two years in a row, Louisville’s Drew Corson Chapter brought home the winning trophy. The success of this tournament inspired Spielberg not only to serve on the JCL teen sports committee, but to encourage the resurgence of other teen league sports in our Jewish community. He is also the team manager of the varsity basketball team at KCD and has been a volunteer at the school-sponsored Camp Hi Ho. Most recently, he volunteered at Brooklawn Children’s Home.
Spielberg loves photography and was accepted to a two-year intensive studio art program at KCD. His love for photography helped him start a small photography business called Duetto Designs. Just recently, Spielberg was asked to showcase his work at the Mellwood Arts show coming up this fall.
Perhaps his biggest passion is fundraising. Spielberg has chosen a cause that is near and dear to his heart, dystonia. Jacob has had dystonia since he was 8 and to date, through many projects both locally and internationally, he has raised more than $350,000 to help find a cure for his disease. His latest venture is called Cars and Coffee for Dystonia, where he has teamed up with a local coffee shop and cars from across the city to participate in a monthly get-together to help raise money for a cure. All proceeds benefit the Bachmann-Strauss Dystonia and Parkinsons Foundation, which has helped Spielberg with all of his treatments.
Bachmann-Strauss gave Spielberg the Young Volunteer of the Year Award and asked him to give an inspirational speech at their largest fundraiser of the year. The teen also served as the regional fundraising chair for the KIO region of BBYO. He has received the Ellen Faye Garmon Award from the JCL and the Leopold Marx Leadership Award from The Temple.
Thanks to the Cantor family, Jacob will be traveling to Israel this summer on BBYO’s premier leadership trip, ILSI, based in Hod Hasharon on the Alexander Muss School campus.
“I would like to thank the Cantor family for giving me this opportunity to experience Israel,” said Spielberg, “so that I can learn and grow as a Jewish teen leader. I look forward to representing our community as a recipient of the Ellen and Milton Cantor Scholarship Fund.”