With a Jewish population of around 8,500, Louisville’s Jewish community boasts many active participants and a wide range of organizations, programs and services. It also has a rich history.
The largest organization is the Jewish Community of Louisville. It includes the Jewish Federation of Louisville, the Jewish Community Center of Louisville, the Jewish Foundation of Louisville, the Jewish Community Relations Council, Hillel and Community, Louisville’s Jewish newspaper.
The JCC has a wide variety of programs from health and wellness and cultural arts, including CenterStage, to BBYO and other teen programs, summer and winter camps and a preschool. The Federation provides the community infrastructure – raising money to support Jewish community agencies, programs and services, offering leadership development opportunities and keeping the community connected to Israel through Partnership 2Gether and missions.
The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) is the public face of the Jewish community. It speaks out on behalf of the Jewish community, advocates for Israel, interfaces with government, school, other faith communities and special interest groups.
Hillel is the home for Jewish students on campus, offering a comfortable place for Jewish students to socialize. It also offers outreach and advocacy.
Louisville has five active Jewish congregations – Adath Jeshurun (Conservative), Anshei Sfard (Orthodox), Keneseth Israel (Conservative), The Temple (Adath Israel Brith Sholom, Reform) and Temple Shalom (Reform). There is also an active Chabad group.
The Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence is a Louisville-based grant-making organization that invests in healthcare and provides support to the Louisville Jewish community. It was formed after Jewish Hospital became part of KentuckyOne Health.
Jewish Family & Career Services (JFCS) offers counseling and career services for “every season of your life,” including adoption, older adult and career services, college and school advisement, employment and business services, community programming, a food pantry and volunteer opportunities.
Shalom Tower was built by the Jewish community. Located on the same campus as the JCC, it is home to many Jewish residents and is connected with many Jewish services. Signature Healthcare at Cherokee Park offers rehab and long-term care services. It maintains a kosher kitchen and offers Jewish services in its chapel.
Jewish education opportunities are available to students of all ages. There are five Jewish preschool programs: Adath Jeshurun Preschool, Gan Torah Beverly Weisberg Preschool, Jewish Community Center Early Learning Center, Keneseth Israel Preschool, and The Temple Trager Early Childhood Education Center. The Louisville Jewish Day School offers a total immersion program and Louisville Beit Sefer Yachad (LBSY) and The Temple Religious School offer after school and weekend Hebrew and Jewish education curricula.
For high school students, all five congregations collaborate to offer the High School of Jewish Studies. The Florence Melton Adult Mini-School provides Jewish text-based studies for adults. There are also a number of informal learning opportunities throughout the year.
Louisville also has active chapters of Hadassah and National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW). Many of the synagogues also have active sisterhoods and men’s clubs. For young adults, the Federation’s YAD (Young Adult Division) offers a variety of social events for young adults and young families.
Louisville’s clergy work together regularly through the Louisville Board of Rabbis and Cantors (LBRC).
There are limited options for kosher food in Louisville. Orthodox kosher supervision is available through the Vaad Hakashruth. The rabbis at the Conservative congregations also offer kosher supervision.
There is a Chevra Kadisha with members from every congregation who perform the mitzvah of staying with the dead until burial.