Jacob Finke Receives Joseph Fink Community Service Scholarship

Throughout his high school years, Jacob Finke has been active in BBYO at The J, has assumed leadership responsibility and has been a role model. Now as he finishes high school and prepares for college, Finke has been named the recipient of the Joseph Fink Community Service Scholarship.

“I’m really grateful for all of the opportunities the JCC, the Jewish Community of Louisville, the Federation and the Jewish community as a whole have given me throughout my life,” he said, “especially through scholarships and grants. I am honored to receive the Joseph Fink Scholarship and to be part of his legacy.”

An active member of Drew Corson AZA throughout his high school years, Finke served as BBYO Kentucky-Indiana-Ohio regional vice president. In that capacity, he helped plan programs at regional conventions and oversaw the chapter s’ganim (vice presidents).

Prior to that, he served two terms as chapter godol (president), one term as s’gan and one term as mazkir (communications vice president). He has also attended numerous conventions and conferences, including an 18-day Chapter Leadership Training Conference (CLTC) at Camp Beber and International Leadership Training Camp (ILTC) at Camp Perlman in Eastern Pennsylvania.

Two years ago, Finke was the recipient of the Stacy Marks Nisenbaum Award, which enabled him to attend ILTC.

As a senior, Finke has watched as younger teens took on leadership roles. “A year ago, I might have been worried about who was going to take the mantle,” he said, “but Louisville BBYO is an incredible movement and the kids now in charge are absolutely fantastic.”

Throughout this past year, Finke participated in the Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel program. He was one of just 26 outstanding North American teens chosen as a fellow. The program included an intensive five-week program in Israel with world-renowned educators and follow up seminars in December and April.

While in Israel, Finke explained, the focus was learning about Israel and the Jewish people. The subsequent programs, he said, “helped me understand who I choose to be and how I choose to express certain things about myself.”

One of the things Finke has chosen to do for several years is volunteer for the Backside Learning Center at Churchill Downs where he tutors the children of track workers. He works mostly with elementary school students, identifying where they have learning gaps and helping close those gaps.

Their English skills vary dramatically, he explained. Some of the children were born here and are fluent; others, like the child Finke works with most often, are recent immigrants who need more help.

Last summer, Finke also volunteered with the Jack Conway for Governor campaign, a task that he found very challenging. “I was doing ground work,” he explained. “Every week, I had to go out and knock on 100 doors and make 150 phone calls.” While he knew he had to reach his goals, it was up to him to decide how and when to do it.

“It was rewarding to set my own schedules and strategies,” he said. He also learned a lot from the hard work and long hours, often without someone to “thank you for doing what you’re supposed to do. If it’s your job, you do it.”

Many of the older volunteers he met are now working for presidential campaigns, and Finke looks forward to being politically active in the future.

He will be graduating from Manual High School’s High School University Program, but he’s not yet sure where he will attend college. He will probably study political science with a minor in history.
In high school, Finke was a member of Manual’s Key Club, the National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society.

He is the son of David and Helene Finke and has two brothers, Cole and Max. The Finkes are members of The Temple.

The Joseph Fink Scholarship honors the memory of a man who devoted his life to coaching, counseling and helping teens. He was always available at the Jewish Community Center to listen, advise and encourage young people.

The Fink Scholarship will be presented at the Jewish Community of Louisville’s Annual Meeting. Watch for details in the next issue of Community.

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