News & Newsmakers

Martha Greenwald

Jewish Louisvillian honors
COVID victims on website
A Jewish Louisville poet has founded a web-based organization honoring the memory of Kentucky’s COVID-19 victims.
Martha Greenwald says her organization,, which encourages families and friends to share their memories as a form of healing, has already archived 20 stories.
Some submissions are just a few lines; others, several paragraphs long. Greenwald offers tips for writing remembrances at her website.
The idea for the project came to her last October when Kentucky Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack, at one of Gov. Andy Beshear’s 4 p.m. press briefings, asked viewers to send him snail mail – not emails or social media posts – explaining how the pandemic had affected their lives.
“As a poet and someone who had taught writing for 18 years at UofL, I was intrigued by his request,” Greenwald said. “I started thinking about the possibilities of asking people to write about their lives and post their responses, rather than having reporters do it for them.”
Greenwald has spoken to many people about her ideas and looked at similar projects elsewhere in the country.
“There are many sites memorializing COVID-19 victims,” she said, “but I wanted to do something different, specific to Kentucky, and in synch with Governor Beshear’s approach to the crisis within the state.”
Beshear has tweeted about her project, which has been featured on news outlets across the state.
“The site is not political,” Greenwald said. It “aims to help people grieve in a safe, secure environment away from social media.”
Eventually, Greenwald hopes to expand the project’s scope, including a multilingual website; free online and in-person writing workshops; an anthology; outreach and curriculum options for teachers who wish to use the website in their classrooms; and season-specific writing prompts and templates to help Kentuckians at particularly difficult times.
She has filed to become a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
Greenwald compared the submissions to lighting yahrzeit candles.
“It feels like the whole state is lighting yahrzeit candles. Obviously, the tradition of lighting candles to memorialize occurs in many cultures and religions beside Judaism, but we all come to this pandemic experience with our own personal contexts.”

JCC hires senior
adult, camp directors

Dara Cohen

The Jewish Community Center has announced two additions to its staff: Dara Cohen as senior adult programming director and David Siskin as director of camping.
An active member of Keneseth Israel, Cohen has also served on the board of the Meyer Food Pantry at the Jewish Family & Career Services for many years. As part of her new position, she will provide Meals on Wheels to seniors. Once the state approves in-person senior adult activities, she will also coordinate senior lunches, activities, events and classes.

David Siskin

Siskin has worked for JCCs in Phoenix, Tampa, Charleston, South Carolina, as well as Louisville. He was most recently the youth and teen program manager

in Tampa. His son is in the Wheat class at the Early Learning Center.

Mazel tov to …
Temple Shalom for meeting its $1,800 goal for construction of a new Habitat house in Louisville.
Tikkun Olam Committee chair Avery Kolers announced on April 6 that the committee met its goal. The dwelling is for a family of Somali refugees. Construction will begin later this spring.

Lisa Sobel-Berlow for being nominated as a candidate for the Man & Woman of the Year campaign, a fundraising competition benefiting The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. She is competing to raise funds for cancer cures, honoring her grandfather, Homer A. Sobel z”l, who passed away from leukemia in 1981. To become a member of her fundraising team, sponsor the virtual Grand Finale on May 15 or donate until May 15, visit

Julie Waterman, for being featured in the 15th District PTA eletter, which covers public school PTA/PTSAs in Jefferson County, and the newsletter for Maryhurst, a residential school for girls. A retired teacher, Waterman’s work at the Clothing Assistance Program, has “transformed and improved” the operation. Click here for the story:

Mike Harlan for being awarded with the Silver Beaver Award, the highest honor Boy Scouts of America can award to a volunteer, for his work with Troop 30 and Troop 30GT.


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