As I brought Dr. Capilouto, president of the University of Kentucky, into my office last week, I offered a typical greeting: “Welcome to the Louisville JCC.” Then, knowing that Lexington doesn’t have one, nor does any other city in Kentucky, I changed it to “Kentucky’s JCC.” There are over 350 JCCs, YM-YWHAs and camp sites in the U.S. and Canada. New York metro has over 20. Kentucky has one, for over 4 million people.
Why have even one? If you don’t know the answer, then you haven’t been involved with us, at least not lately. So, let me share with you a little about the pride of the community-wide Jewish impact programming our JCC provides that those of us who are involved feel on a regular basis:
• Connections – visiting with friends from other congregations, or not affiliated, or from other faiths, and enjoying banter on the basketball courts or softball fields, creativity in an art class, or education in the senior lounge;
• Comfort – hearing from our members how much at home they feel at the JCC, a very prideful event, one the staff gets to experience regularly as we interact with our members and visitors.
• Naches – the gratification we feel when our middle schoolers and high schoolers begin to embrace leadership development by participating in planning activities for these social, societal, educational and philanthropic youth groups.
• Pride – watching our children in Summer Camp learning Jewish values, playing in the Ga-ga pit and learning how to swim (the Talumd enumerates three responsibilities for parents to teach their children: the Torah, how to make a living, and how to swim; your JCC can help you in achieving these objectives.)
Why do I encourage you to participate with us? Because we’re here for you. Take time from your busy lives to come (back, hopefully) to your JCC, the home of our Jewish programming: from Shalom Baby through youth, teens, college and into adulthood and our later years. From cultural arts to education to advocacy for Israel and Jewish peoplehood. From commemorations of sadness to celebrations of joy. From one generation to the next.
What part of your lives are you choosing to live Jewishly, and where are you choosing to do so? How are you imparting Jewish identity to your children? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, please read through our newspaper, emails and website, and select one or more of our offerings to help you do so.
Thank you to the more than one thousand generous community members who support the Jewish community each year with a meaningful gift of time and/or money to the Jewish Federation of Louisville annual campaign. The precious resources you provide enable us to build and sustain Jewish identity community-wide.
If you are not one of the over one thousand, please read our campaign story on page 1 and learn how every dollar we raise helps make a difference to Jews in need in Louisville, Israel and beyond. However you choose to engage, as a user or contributor of our services, know that your JCL is proud to be the connection point for each experience.