CRC Column 06/05/09

[Archived from June 5, 2009]

[by Jennifer Leibson]

Shalom and welcome to a new column in your Community newspaper. The purpose of this article is to inform you about the important work of the Jewish Community of Louisville’s Community Relations Council. The Council is made up of your fellow Louisvillians who meet monthly to discuss issues such as Israel advocacy, anti-Semitism, civil and human rights issues, cooperation between the Jewish community and other faith groups and social justice issues.

As explained in the mission statement, the purpose of the CRC is to help maintain and strengthen the dignity, security, and integrity of Jewish life. In order to carry out this purpose, the CRC shall:

1.    Represent the Jewish community of Louisville in discussions, activities, and programs aimed at improving intergroup relationships and protecting human rights.

2.    Formulate and execute plans and policy on all civic protective matters for and on behalf of the Jewish community of Louisville.

3.    Encourage cooperation and promote harmony among Jewish and non-Jewish organizations in Louisville.

4.    Coordinate the work of member organizations in the fields of civil rights and community relations.

5.    Formulate and carry out programs and activities in support of Israel and Jews in other countries.

After discussing the topical issues, members decide if action needs to be taken on behalf of CRC. This often comes in the form of letter writing, to elected officials or the Courier-Journal or maybe organizing community programs to combat anti-Semitism. Most recently the CRC has teamed with JFCS to write the following letter. (Note: This letter was written before The Jewish Community of Louisville changed its name.)

Congressman Yarmuth
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representative Yarmuth,

On behalf of the Community Relations Council of the Jewish Community Association of Louisville and the Jewish Family and Career Service we are pleased to write a letter in support of H.R. 1721 “The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act of 2009” and we hope that you will be able to add your name as a co-sponsor to this important measure.

Jewish Family & Career Services assisted more than 1200 older adults and their families last year, through provision of a full range of social services designed to keep seniors safe in their homes. We are the designated focal point for senior services in our area and have been recognized in the community as a premier provider of services to seniors and their caregivers. We were recently funded by the Weinberg Foundation, a national foundation, to develop an innovative model for providing in-home services to at risk seniors. In-home services, which allow seniors to age in place, provide a higher quality of life and are often far more cost efficient. Through the expansion of payment for these services to a larger group of individuals and for a larger variety of services community based organizations like ours would better be able to serve the needs of the growing aging population.

We believe that the CLASS Act is a fiscally responsible approach that would help meet the needs of the Baby Boomer generation and sustain the Medicaid program’s fiscal health. The CLASS Act is a sensible blend of public sector oversight built upon a foundation of personal responsibility. This combination will prove to be crucial as the nation grapples with the retirement of 78 million Boomers by the year 2030.

By educating and then engaging Americans about the need to save for their future, the nation will be better able to anticipate their long-term care needs. Given the fact that payment remitted to the beneficiary through the CLASS Act is in the form of a voucher, consumers will be empowered to oversee the services they receive as a result of the Act. This will undoubtedly offer Americans more choices and empower them to seek the care that they feel is most optimal for them.

For years, the Community Relations Council of the Jewish Community Association of Louisville and the Jewish Family and Career Services have been engaged in policy debates on health and long-term care. Jewish-Americans comprise the fastest aging minority in the United States due to low birth rates and overall longevity. Therefore, strengthening the nation’s long-term care safety net is an issue of paramount importance for our community.

We hope that you will be able to support this key legislative initiative. Please let us know if we can be of assistance in your efforts regarding the CLASS Act or other areas of health and/or long-term care reform.


Helene Kramer Longton
Community Relations Council of the Jewish Community Association of Louisville

Judy Tiell
Executive Director
Jewish Family & Career Services

Similar letters will be sent to Senators McConnell and Bunning.

For more information about CRC please contact Sara Wagner at the JCL, 618-5307 or the writer, Jennifer Leibson, at 574-7390.

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