Ben Gurion Society Enjoyed Pre-Holiday Party, Met New JCL CEO

Twenty members of the Jewish Community of Louisville’s Ben Gurion Society began preparing for the Jewish New Year a bit early, at a Pre-Rosh Hashanah party at Asiatique restaurant on Sunday, August 26.

The evening gave the participants the opportunity to catch up with friends, sample special mixed drinks and kosher wines for their Rosh Hashanah table and to get to know the JCL’s new president and CEO, Stu Silberman.

Julie Ellis, the Ben Gurion Society chair for the 2011 JCL Annual Campaign, is excited about the coming year and the important role the members of the Ben Gurion Society will play in the community.

Citing the significant changes in the Louisville Jewish community in recent years, she said the JCL “is still a work in progress,” but it is moving forward and has a number of recent accomplishments to its credit.

This year’s Planning and Allocations Committee, for example, demonstrated that members of the community from diverse constituencies can work together for the good of the entire community. At the end of the process, she said, the main regret she heard from committee members was, “if only we had more funding to give.”

She told those present that there is no better way to learn about what we do as a community and why dollars are needed for the Campaign than to serve on the Planning and Allocations Committee.

Ellis introduced Matt Goldberg, the JCL’s new Community Relations Director, to the group, and then turned attention toward Silberman, the evening’s primary speaker, pointing out that like the members of the Ben Gurion Society, he began his journey into the Jewish world as a volunteer.
Speaking informally, Silberman thanked the community for the opportunity the JCL has given him, told the group a little bit about himself and his family, and recounted his personal journey that led him to Louisville.

Silberman explained that he is “in the learning phase” right now and is spending his time meeting and listening to the JCL’s stakeholders. He plans to bring his 20 years of business experience to the JCL, tempered with the recognition that unlike a business, the JCL is a mission-driven organization.

He also had words of praise for the staff.

He called on the members of the Ben Gurion Society to be leaders in the community, engaging others and building energy and enthusiasm for the community. Imagine what we would have, he said, if we had a community of leaders.

Silberman also fielded questions from those in attendance and spent time talking with individuals.

Ellis was very pleased with the evening. “This worked out great,” she said. “Hopefully people will see Stu as accessible, so when issues and ideas arise, they’ll feel comfortable bringing things to him.”

Chris Zaborowski from Westport Whiskey set up the kosher wine tasting and offered his expertise on the different offerings. Ted Wirth was the photographer.


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