Louisville’s delegation of eight traveled to the Jewish Federations of North America’s annual conference, the General Assembly, last week. What an inspirational experience, being surrounded by thousands of like-minded people with similar aspirations: to build and sustain Jewish identity for future generations.
Among the many breakout sessions I attended, one delivered a message applicable all year long, though with a major secular holiday just around the corner, it’s even more relevant. The speaker said that we tend to focus on the things that go wrong around us, without realizing how many things around us go right without our even thinking about it. He held up his pen, and said he’s thankful that it works. His pad, thankful that the mill produced the paper, the truck delivered it, and the register at the store worked so he could purchase it. It got me thinking.
What are some of the things each of us experience every day that, for the most part, just work? Here are some examples:
- Turning on a switch and lighting a room
- Heating our homes or apartments
- Spinning a tap and having safe drinking water come out
- Entertaining ourselves with the push of a button or two on our TV remotes
- For those of us still holding on to our landlines, raising a telephone to hear a dial tone
We pay for these services, and expect them to work. They are there for us, whether we are using them at the moment or not. They cost us a few hundred dollars each month, and without them life would be impossibly harder.
So, why the thesis in utilities? Because there’s another utility we, as Louisville Jews, have working for us, whether we are using it at the moment or not, and that’s our Jewish community. There for us like flipping a switch, our community is constantly running, with programs and services that are building and sustaining Jewish identity into the next generation and beyond, including:
- Subsidies of $250 per student enrolled in LBSY, The Temple Religious School and the High School of Jewish Studies;
- PJ Library, sending Jewish books to our youth and creating engaging experiences for children and their parents to explore Judaism;
- The Jewish Community Relations Council, advocating for Jewish and causes and Israel, and protecting our interests with governments, schools and interfaith groups, and helping us live tikkun olam;
- Teen Connection, BBYO and Hillel, all Campaign-funded programs that educate, entertain and cultivate the Jewish leaders of tomorrow;
- Community-building events such as the Yom HaShoah commemoration and the Yom HaAtzmaut celebration, and ongoing programs including Chavurat Shalom and Melton;
- One of the most important utilities, a safety net for Jews in need through Jewish Family & Career Services in Louisville, and the Jewish Agency and the Joint Distribution Committee for Jews in Israel and around the world; and
- ‘Substations’ such as The Jewish Foundation of Louisville, this Community newspaper, our weekly emails and social media – all examples the infrastructure that enables each of the above programs.
Even when you’re not home, you need heat or your pipes will burst, telephone service to take a message, electricity to keep the items in your refrigerator from spoiling, and a Jewish community that’s just as important as the other examples, to ensure continuity of the things you believe in for future generations.
How much are these utilities worth to you? Most of us recognize the value we receive and pay our bills.
Do you recognize the value the Jewish Community of Louisville provides to you? If yes, and you’re not helping to sustain us, will you please think about changing that now? Compared to the other services we pay for each month, how does $50 sound? $100? Either of those would be a nice level to start, if you’re not already helping sustain our Jewish utility.
We can set it up to be automatically applied to a credit card or deducted from a checking account – just let us know. It’s so easy. Visit www.jewishlouisville.org or give us a call.
It is likely you are using our services right now, and even if you’re not, isn’t it worth the peace of mind to know our utility will be there for your children, grandchildren, newcomers to town, and yes, even you, should you need it?
When you’re counting all the things you’re thankful for, please include your Jewish community on the list.
Together, we do extraordinary things.