What inspires you Jewishly?
Take a moment and really give it some thought. What inspires you in your Jewish world. Is it family? tradition, G’milot Chasidim (good deeds)? Justice? Torah? Summer camp? Food? Israel? Or something else?
The answers are as personal and complex as each individual.
What inspires each of us to Jewish expression is unique and personal; there is no one-size-fits-all definition and takes shape over time. That’s why it is so important for the Jewish community to continue to evolve and provide new experiences.
Over the past two decades, new Jewish initiatives, including Birthright Israel, Partnship2Gether, PJ Library and Jdate have changed the landscape, inspiring new generations.
The constant advancements and experiences are precisely what inspires me Jewishly and what led me to a career in Jewish communal service. It is also the core work of building a strong and vibrant Jewish community, connecting people to others who will enrich their lives, caring for the needs of all Jews – Kol Yisrael arevim ze lah ze – and knowing that it will always be evergreen or a work in progress.
While we tend to use numbers to measure our communal success; how many people are served? How many participate? The true impact plays out over months and years and even decades. We may never see the most meaningful or subtle differences in the lives we change. A few years ago, before her daughter graduated from high school, a friend shared a photo from 1993 of a group of young Jewish moms with their toddlers sitting under the tree in the JCC family park for Mommy and Me Camp. Little did they know how close their families would become over the years or how much they would experience in Jewish Louisville. Their relationships are still strong today. The true impact of introducing young families could never have been truly measured from a snapshot in time 24 years ago. My inspiration continues to come from every engagement we provide and the possibility of where it may lead.
What inspires you? This is our theme for the 2018 Federation annual campaign. This year, you can express what inspires you by joining in the campaign and inspiring others.
Join our co-chairs Madeline and Jerry Abramson and Faina and Ariel Kronenberg, on Sunday, October 29, at The J for our Campaign Opening from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Our work remains as critical as ever.
Over the high holidays, many people asked me what the infusion of $150 million in new funds received by the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence will mean for the community? Do we still need an annual campaign?
Without a doubt, this is wonderful news for the good work it might fund for generations, and yes! We will still need the campaign. As stakeholders and participants, it is crucial to our Jewish future.
The campaign will continue to provide the funds needed for our core needs including caring for the vulnerable, educating people of all ages and supporting Jewish life around the globe. We look forward to working with JHFE as they continue to make grants to enhance Jewish life in Louisville and the region.
There is no better time in Jewish Louisville to have meaningful Jewish conversations. Take a few minutes and find out what inspires others.
(Sara Klein Wagner is president and CEO of the Jewish Community of Louisville.)