J-LEAD to nurture future Jewish leaders in Louisville

The new logo for J-LEAD, a program designed to attract and develop future leaders of Jewish Louisville

The Jewish Federation of Louisville is starting a program to cultivate future Jewish leaders here.
J-LEAD: Young Adult Leadership Program will introduce young adults to the Louisville and global Jewish community, cultivate leadership skills, create a sense of community amAong its participants and provide meaningful interaction with Jewish Louisville’s current leaders.
It also will provide participants with invitations to Federation events and the opportunity to be paired with volunteer mentors.
The 16-member J-LEAD consists of younger adults from their mid-20s to early-30s. Some are married, but none have children. Some grew up in Louisville, others are newcomers.
“It’s a combination of people who reached out to me and were looking to get more involved in the Jewish community,” said Sarah Baron, leadership engagement manager of the Jewish Federation of Louisville, who is staffing J-LEAD. “I also heard from people who were already involved, who let us know a new person was moving to the community.”
J-LEAD is a continuation of a Federation pilot project done two years ago and enhanced by ideas Baron gleaned from talks with federations in New Orleans, Cincinnati and Minneapolis that have their own leadership initiatives.
“One of the most important things is to build opportunities for members of the cohort to get to know each other and build a sense of community,” she said. “This is the next generation of leaders for our entire Jewish community, so it is important that the Federation make this investment to help prepare the next generation to take on these leadership roles.”
The initial J-LEAD participants are David Raffman, Alexis Levy, Logan Buren, Kevin Trager, Andy Trager, Carly Geer Mason, Danny Mason, Elliot Mitrani, Joe Freedman, Avery Markel, Sarah Flarsheim, Yuvi Friedman, Lauren Lazarus, Levi DeFilipp, Daniela Reuter and Maja Reuter.
Baron met individually with each participant “to see what they were looking for, the impact they wanted to make and how the program can benefit them as professionals.”
Participants give different reasons for getting involved with J-LEAD.
“I hope to gain a better understanding of the federation and the Jewish community in Louisville,” said Kevin Trager. “I also expect to meet and develop relationships with other young adults in the Jewish community, in addition to learning how to be a leader in my professional life.”
Avery Markel, who recently moved to Louisville from Detroit, said she wanted to develop her understanding of the community and “explore my role as a lay leader versus a professional.”
David Raffman said he is interested in “developing a great network of young professional Jewish adults who want to make an impact on their community.”
J-LEAD kicked off with a happy hour on Sept. 24 at Galaxie. A Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Workshop was held Sunday, Oct. 20, from 1 to 5 p.m., at the Jewish Family & Career Services.
Also, a program, called Behind the Scenes of Volunteer Leadership, will be held Tuesday, Nov. 12, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Jewish Family & Career Services. Shannon Benovitz, Heather Gladstein, Jordan Green and Ben Vaughan – board members of Adath Jeshurun, The Temple, JFCS and the JCL respectively – will be panelists, discussing what it’s like being a young Jew in a leadership position and how they can make an impact.
Rabbi Diane Tracht will lead a volunteer activity.
More activities are scheduled for after the first of the year.
In addition, J-LEAD will provide participants with professional headshots and invitations to donor events pairing with volunteer mentors.
Baron expects to have a new J-LEAD class every other year depending on interest.

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