[by Shiela Steinman Wallace]
The promise of tomorrow for the Louisville Jewish community lies with the young adults of today who are coming forward and accepting leadership responsibilities. These are the emerging leaders who will sustain and strengthen our community in the years to come.
Each year, the Jewish Community of Louisvilles recognizes three outstanding young leaders at its Annual Meeting. This year the JCL will honor David Kaplan with the Lewis W. Cole Memorial Young Leadership Award; Amy Ryan with the Joseph J. Kaplan Young Leadership Award; and Laurence Nibur with the Julie E. Linker Community Relations Young Leadership Award.
Please join the Jewish community in honoring these individuals at the JCL’s Annual Meeting, Sunday, August 14, 10 a.m. to noon. at the Jewish Community Center. Officers and Board members will be elected at that time, and brunch will be served.
David Kaplan co-chaired the Jewish Community of Louisville’s Young Adult Division of the Annual Campaign and is a member of the JCL’s Executive Committee and Board of Directors. He has served as chair of the JCL’s Jewish Community Relations Council and continues to serve on its Executive Committee. He also co-chaired Yachad Kadima, the committee that effected the merger of the Jewish Community Federation and the Jewish Community Center.
“I am deeply honored to receive the Cole Award,” Kaplan said. “Lewis W. Cole was a revered leader in our community, so it is very special to receive an award bearing his name. When I look down the list of prior recipients, it is very humbling to be counted among their number.
“The Cole Award goes back to 1960, so two or three generations of young leaders in our community have been recipients,” Kaplan continued. “That caused me to think about all the challenges our community has faced over those 50 years, the progress we’ve made, and the people we have served – and the responsibility that places on the shoulders of the generations that follow.
“I am proud to have been a part of recent efforts to strengthen our community through the merger of the Jewish Federation and the Jewish Community Center,” he added, “because I think we have laid the foundation for the long-term health and viability of the Jewish Community of Louisville. I look forward to being a part of the strategic planning process which will set priorities and give our staff and lay leaders a clear vision to pursue into the future.”
David Kaplan and his wife, Elizabeth, came to Louisville in 1997 and quickly became involved with the Jewish community. They co-chaired Super Sunday and David went on to co-chair the Young Adult Division of the 2004 United Jewish Campaign. With the JCRC, he has also been a member of the Executive Committee and co-chair of the Emergency Israel Community Relations Committee. He served on the Federation’s Board of Directors before the merger.
In 2002, in recognition of his dedication to and hard work on behalf of the Jewish community, Kaplan received the Jewish Community Federation’s Julie E. Linker Community Relations Young Leadership Award.
Kaplan has served on the Board at Four Courts Senior Center, and he presently serves on the Board of Jewish Hospital and St. Mary’s Healthcare. His family belongs to Temple Shalom.
He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received his law degree, magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School and his master’s degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. After law school, he clerked for a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky.
Professionally, Kaplan is the managing member of the Louisville office of Miller Wells PLLC. He handles complex business disputes, banking litigation, employment matters, and commercial arbitrations. As a former Chief of Staff to the Speaker of the House and former Assistant Attorney General, he provides legal and strategic advice in matters involving government agencies and the legislature.
The Kaplans have two children, Nicki and Nate.
Amy Ryan came to Louisville just seven years ago for her husband, Bill’s, job with Humana. A year later, she, too, joined Humana’s workforce. In the time she’s been in Louisville, she has been drawn into the Jewish community and has become very active.
Ryan was born in Cincinnati and grew up in Cleveland, OH, where she was very involved at the Jewish Community Center as a child and then worked there as a counselor and with early childhood, summer camp, after school and teen programs.
Her involvement with the JCC waned as she began her career in technical writing. Later, she got into adult corporate education and training and leadership development.
“A lot of the work I do professionally is around collaboration, facilitation and strategic planning,” she explained, “so when I read in Community that the JCC and the Federation were considering merger and trying to envision what the future would look like as a merged organization, I called Robin Stratton and offered to help.
“I’ve been trained in facilitation and Appreciative Inquiry – a method of transformational change,” Ryan continued, “so I felt like I couldn’t sit by the sidelines and not offer that skill set.”
That was the start of her involvement in the Louisville Jewish community. Ryan played an instrumental role in the merger, and was elected to the first Jewish Community of Louisville Board, where she continues to serve. She also will be on the design team for the JCL’s strategic planning process.
In addition, she has served on several committees, including the Search Committee for the CEO, the Programming Subcommittee that looked at the offerings for children in grades 3-5, and the Human Resources Committee. She also has led leadership development sessions for the JCL’s Young Leadership Development program and The Temple and had led JCL Annual Campaign training sessions.
Through Humana, she also volunteers for programs like the Senior Olympics.
Professionally, Ryan is the director of clinical learning and development for Humana, Inc. She has a B.A. from Indiana University in Telecommunications/Business and an M.Ed. from Kent State University in Instructional Design/Technology.
The Ryans have twin nine-year-old girls, Rachel and Haley. They are members of The Temple and the Jewish Community Center.
Ryan was surprised and flattered to hear that she was chosen to receive the Kaplan Award. “I feel like a lot of what I want to contribute is around the strategic plan and the vision for the JCL, and I feel like we’re just getting started.”
“Coming from a city where there is a much larger Jewish community,” she said, “it was easy to stay in the background.” Her experience in Louisville was much different. She was welcomed and invited to serve on the Board. “People value everything you can do here.”
“I was raised at Fairmont Temple, a large Reform congregation in Cleveland, with a big emphasis on social action,” she explained. “I went to Camp Wise then worked at a lot of the camps. It was a huge piece in forming my Jewish identity. When we moved to a city with less than 9,000 Jews, it was more important to connect to the community than every before.”
Now she lives in Oldham County and there are not many Jews in her daughters’ class. “I want them to have the community I had growing up, and I don’t think you get that unless you give,” she said.
The Linker Award is given to an individual who is active with the Jewish Community Relations Council and other aspects of Jewish life in Louisville. Laurence Nibur is the Jewish Community of Louisville’s treasurer, and has been a member of the JCRC for several years.
“I give of my time to the community,” Nibur said, because I enjoy it and want to build a beautiful Jewish community for Isabela, my three-year-old daughter. To be honored for doing something that helps our whole community is very humbling and only serves as motivation to keep working every day to make Louisville the best Jewish community it can be.”
Nibur moved to Louisville with his family when he was 11. He attended Eliahu Academy, was a member of Mu Sigma Resnick AZA in the BBYO program, and is a past member of the Jewish Community Center’s Board of Directors. During his time on IU’s Bloomington campus, Nibur was very active in Hillel and served terms as the organization’s president and treasurer.
Today, he serves on the board of The Temple and is a youth group adviser for TiLTY, the congregation’s high school youth group. He is a member of the JCL’s Jewish Community Relations Council and co-chaired the Super Sunday for the 2008 Campaign.
Nibur has a very strong connection to Israel as well. “Almost all of my extended family live in various parts of Israel. I’ve been a dozen times and look forward to going back.”
Nibur has also traveled extensively, living in Sydney, Australia for 4 years; London, England for 4 years; and Chicago for 3 years, experiencing what it means to be a new arrival to an established Jewish Community.
Isabela is enjoying camp at the JCC and will attend The Temple Preschool in the fall. She eagerly looks forward to the arrival of PJ Library books; seeing her proud grandparents, Mickey and Mercedes Nibur; and attending Shabbat services. When she was an infant, father and daughter enjoyed Shalom Baby activities together.
Nibur is a graduate of Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business and holds a dual Bachelors of Science in finance and marketing. He is now a contractor with Kindred.