[by Shiela Steinman Wallace]
The decision to become a leader in the annual Federation Campaign is not one that people take lightly. It is a significant responsibility that involves a lot of time and energy. This year, Ariel Kronenberg agreed to chair the Young Adult Division (YAD).
“I was asked in the past,” he said, “but I didn’t feel the time was right. This time, when Ralph [Green, the Campaign chair] asked me, I agreed.” In fact, Kronenberg had been thinking about it even before Green approached him.
In the past few years, his responsibilities at work left him little time to volunteer, but now his employer, Lior Yaron, is back in town, “I felt I could get back into the community and volunteer work. So when Ralph called, it was the perfect match. … I’m very honored and flattered that he asked.”
Kronenberg is just beginning his work on this year’s YAD Campaign, so he has no specific plans to report yet. He is bringing “a lot of excitement and positive energy” to the process and is eager to hear other people’s ideas.
“I hope to bring out what the community as a whole wants to accomplish,” Kronenberg explained. He has set a goal of making the Campaign and the community more inclusive and open to everyone. “I want to see new faces and more faces,” he said, “and to bring in anybody who wants to be involved in any way – not just monetarily.” He’s looking for ways to incorporate that idea into YAD’s main Campaign event.
Kronenberg was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the grandson of Polish immigrants. Although his parents had been born in Argentina, they had wanted to go to Israel since their early teens, when they had been involved in the Jewish youth movement.
“When the economic situation in Argentina in the late ‘70’s got really bad,” Kronenberg said, “that was the breaking point when they made the final decision to make aliyah.”
In 1980, when he was 9, Kronenberg’s family moved to an acculturation center in the Gilo neighborhood of Jerusalem. “Most of my mother’s family was already living in Israel,” he said. Later, they bought an apartment in Rishon L’tzion.
Kronenberg did not follow the pattern of most Israeli youths. He postponed his military service for two years so he could study mechanical engineering. “Then I went to the Army and served 5-1/2 years in the intelligence corps.”
“During my last year of service, I decided mechanical engineering was not interesting enough,” he explained, “so I took courses in marketing and advertising.”
In 1997, Kronenberg got a job with the Israeli Ministry of Defense in New York, and at the same time, earned an M.B.A. in computer information systems.
In New York, he met Lior Yaron, who offered a position with the option of staying in New York or coming to Louisville.
Kronenberg and his wife, Faina, chose Louisville, and came to the city in 2004. They quickly became community volunteers, helping out with Super Sunday telethons and participating in Young Adult Division events and events at Congregation Adath Jeshurun.
In 2007, they chaired Louisville’s Yom HaZikaron/Yom HaAtzmaut (Israel Memorial Day/Israeli Independence Day) event, and together they completed the Jewish Community Federation’s Young Leadership Development program.
Ariel Kronenberg also served three years on the Jewish Family & Career Services Board.
The Kronenbergs met in Israel and return every year.
They have two children, Emma and Gabby.