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Abrams elected JCL Board Chair

Abrams elected JCL Board Chair

[by Shiela Steinman Wallace, Editor]

On Monday, June 3, Karen Abrams was elected chair of the Jewish Community of Louisville Board of Directors, a position for which she has been preparing for a long time.

She’s been a member of the JCL Board and Executive Committee since the agency’s formation, serving as secretary and chair-elect, and chaired the successful 2013 Federation Campaign, which raised $2.1 million for the community.

Shortly after the agency was formed, Abrams, Sheila Berman and Jeff Tuvlin co-chaired the JCL’s Program Review Committee and looked at all the programs the newly created JCL offered at the time and identified gaps in service to the community. Later, she was chair of the Governance Committee, which defined Board member responsibilities and clarified the JCL’s bylaws.

Now she’s ready for the leadership responsibilities attendant to the chairmanship of the Board, and is eager to begin her term.

“Karen and I have been working closely together since I got here as she’s been an Executive Committee Member and chair of our Governance Committee,” said JCL President and CEO Stu Silberman. “Her leadership qualities include being very contemplative and very inclusive, resulting in community-minded recommendations and clear decision-making, so I was very pleased when she accepted our request to be considered as the next Board chair. I look forward to working with Karen to build on our current successes and create many new ones.”

“My first priority is to finish the strategic plan,” Abrams said. “I’m confident we can do that within six months because a lot of the groundwork has already been done. [JCL President and CEO] Stu Silberman, senior staff and the Board will be working on this.” The strategic plan will lay out the path the agency will follow to fulfill its mission.

“My second goal is to engage even more of the Jewish community – families, singles, young adults, seniors – in programming and to get them into the JCC building,” she stated. There are a lot of wonderful programs and activities going on now and even more great things in the works. Now the JCL needs to get people in the door to check them out, and the Board has a role to play with this.

“I feel like the JCL is on great footing, based on the work done by [Immediate Past Board Chair] David Klein, Stu Silberman and the rest of the Board and staff,” Abrams stated. “I’m excited to continue moving forward, now.”

One advantage Abrams feels the agency now has is, “we don’t have a deficit budget” for the coming year.” This reflects the progress the JCL has made since its creation in 2009. In the coming year, Abrams is “looking to increase our revenue stream” to continue the agency’s positive trajectory.

“This is a good time for me to become chair of the Jewish Community of Louisville,” she said, “because my youngest is going off to college.”

Abrams appreciates the leadership David Klein provided the JCL during his tenure and is appreciative of him “putting in a third year” which allowed her to wait until she was ready and to gain the experience of chairing the Campaign.

Abrams experience also includes co-chairing the 2003 and 2004 Campaigns with Lior Yaron and co-chairing YAD (Young Adult Division) in 1997 with Ken Richter. Abrams and her husband, Jeff Glazer, also co-chaired the Livnot Leadership program in 2005. Livnot was a networking and community development forum the Federation convened to bring together experienced leaders from Louisville’s Jewish congregations and agencies.

Last year, she received JFNA’s Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Award for endowing her annual Campaign gift and encouraging others to do so. In 1998, Abrams was the recipient of the Federation’s Joseph J. Kaplan Young Leadership Award, and in 2004, she was chosen by the Federation as a Jewels in Our Crown honoree.

She’s a member of the Jewish Community Center and Congregation Adath Jeshurun and served on its Board and is a life member of National Council of Jewish Women. She and her husband have been to Israel several times, most recently with their children, Nicholas, Mallory and Andrea, on an AJ trip with Rabbi Robert Slosberg, which included time in the Western Galilee, Louisville’s Partnership 2Gether region.

Abrams also participated in a national Campaign Chairs and Directors Mission, which took her to Moldova as well as Israel, and has attended a number of national conferences.

Professionally, Abrams is a pediatrician with the Kaplan Baron Pediatric Group. She earned her M.D. from the University of Louisville School of Medicine.

She is open to input from members of the community and invites people to e-mail her at karenabrams@gmail.com.

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