December 15, 2011
To Archbishop Kurtz and the Catholic Community of Louisville:
It is with deep sadness and a tremendous sense of loss that the Jewish Community of Louisville (JCL) organization and the entire Louisville Jewish community join the Louisville Archdiocese in remembering Archbishop Thomas Kelly.
Throughout his quarter century plus of service, Archbishop Kelly provided leadership for the entire community. He understood that if Louisvillians are to live together and thrive as a community, we must reach out to each other, learn about each other’s traditions, understand each other’s faiths and treat each other with respect.
As our partner in the Interfaith Center at the University of Louisville, he always put the interests of the students first, helping the Interfaith Center become the warm, welcoming spiritual home for students of many faiths that it is today.
“I developed a very good professional and personal relationship with Archbishop Kelly,” said Alan Engel, the former executive director of the Jewish Community Federation (one of the predecessor organizations to the JCL), who worked closely with the archbishop as the Interfaith Center’s judicatory from the Jewish community. “I found him helpful in advancing the goals of the Interfaith Center and bringing the judicatories from the participating faith communities together.”
When the Catholic Church marked the 25th anniversary of Nostra Aetate, the document that changed official church doctrine regarding responsibility for the death of Jesus, Archbishop Kelly ensured that the Catholic and Jewish communities marked this significant event together.
To further promote interfaith understanding, Archbishop Kelly was instrumental in creating the Festival of Faiths. This annual showcase of religions truly celebrates the religious diversity of our community, facilitating dialogue and expanding horizons for many.
Archbishop Kelly also understood the importance of Holocaust education. He embraced the Jewish community’s annual Yom HaShoah Commemoration and understood that the Catholic Church has an important role to play in conjunction with the Jewish community in teaching about the Holocaust and its impact.
This humble man lived his beliefs every day, treating everyone with dignity and respect and seeking to shed light in dark corners. Our Jewish community, the city of Louisville and our entire region are truly richer for his leadership and contributions.
On behalf of the Jewish Community of Louisville, may his memory be for blessing, and may his achievements serve as an inspiration for us all.
With deep respect,
President and CEO
Jewish Community Relations Council
Jewish Community Relations Director