Louisville’s Jewish community came together on Tuesday evening (Oct. 10) to mourn, share warm embraces, grieve and pray. On day four of the war in Israel, over 500 Louisvillians gathered at sunset in the parking lot of the Trager Family JCC to hear from speakers including civic officials, faith-based leaders, rabbis, cantors and Jewish lay leaders.
Moments of sadness were followed by moments of Jewish pride. Rabbi David Ariel-Joel shared how the attack on Israel is an attack on all Israeli people. He expressed his grief and anxiousness for his family and his friends who are currently in Israel and living in a state of uncertainty. Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg also spoke, describing himself as a “Jewish-American,” and called on all Louisvillians to “support Israel and call out anti-Semitism when you see it.”
Spiritual leaders who made remarks during the program were Archbishop Shelton Fabre, Archdiocese of Louisville; Dr. Steve Kelsey, Minister of Spirit Filled New Life Church; Rabbi Beth Jacowitz Chottiner, Temple Shalom; Rabbi Avrohom Litvin, Chabad of Kentucky; Rabbi Ben Freed, Keneseth Israel; and Rabbi Simcha Snaid, Anshei Sfard.
David Kaplan, Board Chair of the Jewish Federation of Louisville; Sara Klein Wagner, President & CEO of the Jewish Federation of Louisville; and Matt Golden, Jewish Community Relations Council Director, also offered remarks during the program.
Several elected officials were in attendance including Rep. Jason Nemes, Majority Whip in the Kentucky General Assembly, who shared the Kentucky State Legislature’s solidarity with Israelis in Louisville, in the U.S. and overseas.
Keren Benabou, a retired Israeli Defense Force Soldier and now Louisville resident and mother, closed the evening by encouraging Louisvillians to do three things: to mourn, to pray and to act. To act now, she encouraged everyone to visit the website set up by the Jewish Federation of Louisville where individuals can donate to help Israel in rebuilding its infrastructure and to support those who have and are experiencing immense trauma, to encourage lawmakers to support Israel, to seek out local and international volunteer opportunities and stay up-to-date on the latest information on current events. The website is jewishlouisville.org/actnowforisrael
The Louisville Stands with Israel Solidarity Gathering was sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Louisville, the Jewish Community Relations Council, Louisville Board of Rabbis and Cantors, American Jewish Committee, National Council of Jewish Women, Jewish Family and Career Services, Adath Jeshurun, Keneseth Israel, Chabad, American Jewish Committee-Louisville, The Temple Adath Israel Brith Sholom, Temple Shalom and Trager Family JCC.