[by Matt Goldberg, Director]
Jewish Community Relations Council
Jewish Community of Louisville
Shooting at Sikh Temple
This past month has been a tragic one for our country, and particularly for all of us who are interested in interfaith relations. On August 5, a person who is apparently a member of some white supremacist organizations went into a Sikh temple outside of Milwaukee, WI, and started shooting. Several people were killed, several more were wounded, and our sense of calm was shattered.
The Jewish community and many other faith partners in Louisville are concerned about this act of violence, and the hatred that was at its source. Our JCRC has reached out to our local Sikh community to offer support, and we have resolved as a multi-faith community to do all that we can to prevent incidents like this in the future. Increasing security for our religious institutions is an unfortunate necessity, but combating hate-filled sentiment is a more elusive and daunting task.
One way to open up minds is to learn about other cultures, and there is a wonderful opportunity to do just that this Labor Day weekend on the Belvedere, as WorldFest once again returns to Louisville. WorldFest is a three-day celebration of different cultures from around the world, with music, food, dancing, and information booths about the many different cultures that make up this city. The JCRC will be hosting a booth at WorldFest, with educational, cultural, and historical information about Israel.
There is a saying in the Israel advocacy business that nothing sells Israel like Israel, and that is what we will be trying to do. As Israel, unfortunately, is threatened continuously by her neighbors (including three rockets launched at a school in Sderot on the first day of classes this past week), our materials emphasize a side of Israel that is not so prominent in the news cycle: its diversity, its tolerance and its natural beauty.
Another productive way to “fight back” against hatred is to participate in this year’s Hunger Walk, an interfaith activity. The Hunger Walk started in 1969 in response to the Thanksgiving Day death of a young boy from starvation on Muhammad Ali and 17th Street. The interfaith leadership of Louisville (including of the Jewish community) was so outraged that a young man could die of starvation in the latter half of the 20th century, that they started the Hunger Walk, which has grown every year since its inception.
The proceeds of the Hunger Walk go to Dare to Care (with which the JFCS food pantry is affiliated), a food bank operating in the seven counties. One in six people in the greater Louisville area (including one in four children) is food insecure and with our economic and unemployment situation being what they are, it is more important than ever that Dare to Care is fully funded.
The walk starts at Waterfront Park at 2:15 p.m. on September 9. The Jewish community has established a team, “Jewish Louisville;” please go to www.thehungerwalk.org to register. Registration costs $25, and that $25 can provide almost 100 meals.
A less obvious way to prevent tragedies like the one in Wisconsin is to stay politically informed. As such, the JCRC will be hosting a Candidate’s Forum on September 23 at 2 p.m. in the Jewish Community Center Auditorium. Candidates for Court of Appeals, Metro Council, and U.S. Congress have been invited, and Congressman John Yarmuth is confirmed to appear. Elections have consequences for a variety of important issues … from Israel and international issues, to local issues involving police and court systems. Please be sure to attend.
On behalf of the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Community of Louisville, I wish all of you a happy and successful new year.
Visit the JCRC Blog at www.jewishlouisville.org.