[by Phyllis Shaikun]
Bari Calderon and her husband, Jeff, couldn’t be more pleased about being asked to chair the Jewish Community of Louisville’s Shalom Committee. The Calderon’s have lived in Louisville for four years and Bari says they are in love with the place.
“We truly are the poster people for letting everyone know how great Louisville is,” she says. “We were welcomed so graciously to this community that we want to be sure others who come here receive the same warm and loving reception we did.”
Their move here was not an impulsive one, and they had some help in making up their minds. Several years ago, they visited their friends, Karen and Eric Bass (an old friend of Jeff’s), after they moved to Louisville, and Bari was impressed with what they saw. They had a six-month-old at the time, and she remembers Jeff telling her not to even think about relocating. Both were died-in-the-wool New Yorkers, and he had no interest in moving.
The more the couple thought about Jeff’s three-hour daily commute to the office and back and how their quality of life was being compromised as a result, the more willing he was to at least consider the possibility of a move. He insisted, however, that it had to be a no-brainer worth leaving family, friends and his business partnership to pursue.
Over the next year, Bari checked out neighborhoods, schools and synagogues while Jeff, a CPA, weighed job opportunities. He finally accepted an offer with the accounting firm of Deming Malone Livesay and Ostroff, where he is now a partner, and has never looked back. He now serves on the boards of Congregation Adath Jeshurun, the Standard Country Club and Greater Louisville Inc, and is a member of this year’s Leadership Louisville Class – opportunities that would likely not have been possible in New York.
The Calderon’s third child was born in Louisville just nine months after they arrived! Bari remembers Rabbi Robert Slosberg and Cantor David Lipp from Adath Jeshurun visiting them and even bringing them food.
“It was so easy to make friends here,” she says. “I would be in the kids room at the Center with my children and people just introduced themselves.” She easily met others who extended the hand of friendship and started the ball rolling.
While theirs was an easy transition, she admits their situation was not necessarily the norm. However, she wants it to be that way for all newcomers to the city’s Jewish Community.
The Calderons are excited to be a part of welcoming others to this “wonderful city” and are making plans to meet with clergy and administrators from all of our local congregations and Jewish agencies. “We also want to find families representing all age groups who would be interested in acting as ambassadors for newcomers and guiding them through the relocation process. The Shalom Committee is also planning social events to be held throughout the year.
If you would like to become involved or would like more information about the Shalom Committee, please contact Allison Schwartz, firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-5325.