JCL leaders reflect on year of growth here

Sara Klein Wagner

Jay Klempner









It has been our privilege to serve together as leadership partners for our Jewish Federation and JCC. We were honored to host our 2017 Annual Meeting on Thursday, June 8, where we celebrated our award winners and reflected on a few highlights from this past year and looked towards the future.

The JCL made it possible for thousands of people with unique needs and aspirations to participate in Jewish experiences this past year. There are far too many to list them all. Here are just a few:

• We are grateful to Jane Goldstein and Jon Fleischaker for leading the 2017 Annual Campaign. Thank you to our donors and philanthropy team for meeting the generous $200,000 challenge grant from JHFE.

• We took a major step becoming part of the LIFE & LEGACY program created and led by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. LIFE & LEGACY motivates Jewish organizations to integrate legacy giving into their fundraising to assure the financial sustainability of the Jewish community. Jennifer Tuvlin, LIFE & LEGACY coordinator and Stacy Gordon- Funk, vice-president of philanthropy, lead this important initiative. They are joined by Sheldon Gilman, LIFE & LEGACY chair and Chris Brice, Jewish Foundation of Louisville chair.

• Our first Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project trip to Israel included 16 Jewish women who personally connected with Israel and returned with life-changing experiences and thoughts to share with their families and community.

• PJ Library welcomed a new coordinator, Madelyn Cerra who is already expanding engagement opportunities to our 300+ PJ participants and families.

• Michael Fraade joined us as a JOFEE fellow last spring. Our JCC is one of 10 participating in the JOFEE fellowship program through a partnership between JCCA and Hazon. “Farmer Mike’s” energy and passion for healthy food and a sustainable environment is energizing, including collaborative work with New Roots and The J’s Fresh Stop Markets. Michael also has re-established the community garden that our seniors started several years ago. The garden has now quadrupled in size and is no longer just a seasonal garden providing fresh produce throughout the year.

• JTomorrow! led by Dr. Jeff Goldberg and a cadre of wonderful volunteers kicked off in December. JTomorrow! is the vision of our future J. This includes the physical facility and the programs and services we will provide to both the Jewish community and the greater Louisville community to connect, grow and engage for generations to come.

There are countless stories of the lives impacted throughout the past year. We would be remiss, however, if we did not mention the bomb threat received by our JCC this past winter that caused much anxiety and was followed by heightened concern in Louisville and throughout the country. Our staff treated the event and the weeks that followed with great care, professionalism and strength. We are grateful to the hundreds of people of different faiths and backgrounds who gathered on our front lawn to share their love and solidarity during the #We- StandTogether rally.

Finally, thank you to the JCL Board of Directors, our volunteers and the JCL staff for your passion, energy and commitment. The work of the Jewish Federation and The J underscores the power of what we can accomplish together. May the year ahead continue to take us from strength to strength.

(Jay Klempner is the outgoing chair of the JCL Board of Directors. Sara Klein Wagner is the president and CEO of the JCL.)

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