Last year, the theme of Jewish Federation of Louisville’s Annual Campaign – “What Inspires You?” – provided enthusiastic responses all year long.
One person in particular, Lisa Barnes, who participated in the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project experience in Israel said, “I have never in my life felt so connected to my values, to my ancestors, to myself, to a place and mostly to G-d. I am so appreciative of the Federation for giving me and all of these other women the opportunity to go to Israel.”
The theme of this year’s campaign builds upon that type of inspiration that many of us already feel.
Hence, the theme for the 2019 Annual Federation Campaign will be “Impact of Together.” We think it encapsulates all the work being done to prepare Jewish Louisville for the future.
Last week, I attended a Herzlian dinner with the guest speaker, Avraham Infeld. The attendees spanned the width and breadth of the Jewish world, from those who grew up in communities with a handful of Jews to those from the Jewish cultural center that is New York. The group included people who lived in Germany, Argentina, Israel and Canada. Of course, several were lifelong Louisvillians and some were not Jewish, but have chosen to help shape the Jewish future here.
As a quick conversation starter, these participants were asked to share what inspires their philanthropy. This time, the question turned into an inspiring experience.
I listened as each participant shared how the Jewish community impacted their lives, not to mention the desire and responsibility they each felt to provide for the needs of today.
They weren’t just sharing their inspiration; they were sharing their passion and dreams for a strong, vibrant Jewish future. So, it follows perfectly that understanding what inspires us individually leads to the theme and message of the 2019 campaign – “Impact of Together.”
While we may never personally know the people we are helping by sharing hope, strength and inspiration, we clearly make the biggest impact together.
Avraham Infeld spoke to several groups during his visit to Louisville. He passionately reminded us that Judaism is not a religion, not an ethnicity, not a nationality. It is a people.
We share collective memories, Infeld explained. We are a family, connected by Mt. Sinai and Israel (whether you agree with its government or not) and by the Hebrew language, which is used to pass culture to the next generation.
The “Impact of Together” really isn’t new to us; this is what our Jewish family has been doing for generations. As the needs, opportunities and challenges of our collective Jewish family evolve, we each make a difference by working together.
Last year, we were unable to meet all the funding requests from the community, despite a successful campaign. We simply didn’t have enough resources. This year, please consider what inspires you, consider the difference you can make, and participate fully in the 2019 campaign. There are many ways to do this: Speak with a volunteer; attend an event; give online at jewishlouisville.org.
Together, we can have impact. We can continue to ensure a vibrant and thriving Jewish community in Louisville, allowing individuals to live their most meaningful lives.
(Sara Klein Wagner is president and CEO of the Jewish Community of Louisville.)