In June 2013, Keneseth Israel announced that it had started preliminary work on a feasibility study to determine the level of demand in bringing to Louisville a new Jewish day school. Much progress has been made since then.
Keneseth Israel received a grant to conduct this study from the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence. KI engaged one of the country’s most respected demographers, Dr. Ira Sheskin, director of the Jewish Demography Project of the Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies at the University of Miami.
Dr. Sheskin was in Louisville on September 11-12. During that time, he conducted a focus group with 14 parents of young children who had expressed interest in sending their children to a Jewish school. He also conducted interviews with professionals in Jewish education in Louisville, including rabbis, cantors or education directors from all the synagogues in town.
There was also a meeting of the study’s steering committee, comprised of a cross-section of leaders from Jewish Louisville. This group is helping Dr. Sheskin create a survey, which will be sent to the Jewish Community of Louisville’s email list within the next month. The steering committee says that it would greatly appreciate the community’s support by answering the survey when it is sent out.
Dr. Sheskin will also be sending a Jewish Institutions Survey to collect information that may help in his study. These surveys are to be completed by executive directors, rabbis and heads of schools. The survey queries the number of member households in 2004 and in 2014 and information on synagogue membership and preschool/child care, supplemental school, and day camp enrollments for 2004 and 2014.
Scott Weinberg, a KI board member and a leader of the steering committee, said, “We have an opportunity to build something really significant and inspiring that will last generations, and will shape the Louisville Jewish community of the future. We are all eager to hear the results of the feasibility study.” Weinberg noted that the results of the feasibility study are expected to be completed by early 2015.
For more information, call Yonatan Yussman at 459-2780 or yyussman@ kenesethisrael.com.