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JCL Update 10/09/09

[Archived from October 9, 2009]

Editor’s Note: Through this column, elected members of the Jewish Community of Louisville Board provide updates on progress made since JCL’s formation and share their thoughts with readers. Please feel free to contact them with your thoughts, ideas and concerns or if you’d like to become a JCL volunteer.

by Michael Shaikun, e-mail MGS@gdm.com

As a 40+ year member of the Board of Directors of the Jewish Community of Louisville (and its predecessor, the Jewish Community Federation), I’ve seen a lot of changes, but none could compare to the merger this past May between the Jewish Community Federation and the Jewish Community Center. The birth of our new organization was premature perhaps, but had we waited to work out all of the details, it would never have happened.

Through the Yachad Kadima Committee, we cobbled together a flexible framework for future success. We selected directors and officers without regard to where they had served in the past. After a rough start, the new board began to coalesce. You should be proud of just how well your board is working together to assure the success of your JCL.

Now the JCL, like most preemies, was not quite fully functional at birth, but it is getting stronger every day. We now have a Branding Committee, which has developed a logo and tag line, a mission statement; a very active Program Committee with multiple subcommittees; a Search Committee hard at work trying to locate a qualified CEO/president for the organization and a Budget Committee looking closely at how we are spending your money – seeking to reduce costs without impacting essential services.

As a fundraising umbrella, we had to quickly form an Allocations Committee and advise our constituent agencies about funding we could provide for their 2009-2010 operations. With an abbreviated (and down) campaign, this difficult task was accomplished in short order. Our 2010-2011 campaign will be headed by Todd Blue. Todd is busy organizing that campaign now and volunteers are needed. If you are willing to help, notify Todd, a staff member or any of our officers or directors and let them know.

Since our new organization is not just a fundraising umbrella, but also is responsible for a broad range of activities including the operation of our Jewish Community Center, tremendous efforts are being made to see that vital JCL programs and services continue at the Center even while the Program Committee and others are starting to evaluate those services. Just keeping the physical plant in operation is a big job, maintaining and growing its spirit is an even bigger one.

The Program Committee is co-chaired by Karen Abrams, Sheila Berman and Jeff Tuvlin. Its subcommittees are looking at the needs of each age group, seeing which programs and services are now being offered to them, and identifying what should be kept, what should be tweaked, what has outlived its usefulness and what gaps need to be addressed. If you have any suggestions, please either get in touch with a co-chair or with the appropriate subcommittee chair. The program committee subcommittee chairs and their areas of concern are:

Children – Marsha Roth
Teens – Eric Bass
YAD – Heather Gladstein
Adult – Alex Rosenberg
Senior Adult – Angeline Goldin

In the meantime, programming is not standing still. More than 80 women attended the Breakfast with Tiffany event last week. There are Sukkot pizza programs planned for families and Hillel students; The PJ Library will be celebrating its first birthday with a big party; and La Cage aux Folles opens at CenterStage October 22.

Watch for announcements of additional activities in Community, on our web site at http://www.jewishlouisville.org and at the Jewish Community Center. Talking about our web site, the Branding Committee is now working on a dynamic new web site that will truly be a community website – a single address to which people can come and find the information they need about every Jewish organization, agency, synagogue, temple and service in Louisville. It will include a real community calendar and much more to be announced later. Check back often.

We know we cannot do this alone. We have consulted with our parent organizations, retained qualified assistance for our executive search efforts and obtained a grant to cover the cost of a consultant to assist us. We were fortunate to find a consultant who has had experience with similar mergers of Jewish organizations and are in the process of introducing him to members of our community to see if the chemistry is right. 

Our success (your success) is dependent on your giving the JCL some space and setting aside past differences. Our future will be assured not simply by cutting costs, but by defining our mission and investing in its success. As stakeholders in this future, your support, both financial and personal, is what is needed if we are to have a strong Jewish Community of Louisville now and in the future.

In case you cannot tell, I am proud of our JCL and its board, officers and members (that’s you). Work with it. Volunteer. Give generously. If you are not a dues paying Center member, become one or make a donation in lieu of membership. Make your pledge to the Annual Campaign.

By working together we can accomplish so much. I’m reminded of the motto of our great state, “United We Stand; Divided We Fall.” Our very future as a Jewish community rests with us. We can do no less than proudly play our part in its perpetuation L’dor vador – from generation to generation. We must not fail. Each of us has multiple opportunities to make the world a better place in which to live. Participate with us, and we will all benefit.

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