[by Leon Wahba, JCRC Chair]
The Jewish Community of Louisville’s Jewish Community Relations Council is keeping quite busy reaching out to our friends as well as defending Israel from those that defame her unjustly.
This month we voted unanimously to join The Kentucky Co-alition for Responsible Lending, a statewide coalition dedicated to protecting family assets by eliminating abusive financial practices. This matter was brought to our attention by Amy Shir who defined the problem for us. We are proud to stand with a long list of faith communities in support of this important initiative.
We have also reached out to the local Christian Sudanese-American community. We became aware that on January 9 residents of Sudan may vote on a referendum designed to decide whether the southern Sudan, predominantly Christian and animist, can split apart from northern Sudan, predominantly Arab and Muslim. The JCRC has pledged to raise and donate some monies to cover the travel expenses of many members of the Sudanese community in Louisville who may want to drive down to the nearest voting station in Nashville to vote on the referendum and, hopefully, bring an end to the civil conflict in their birth land that has already lasted more 20 years. It is estimated that this war has already resulted in the death of more than 200,000.
We delivered to the local Pakistani-American community the money we raised for humanitarian relief in Pakistan, as they are still recovering from the devastating floods that left millions homeless. These funds will be used to purchase and deliver clothing and warm blankets to the many in Pakistan that are still without shelter as a cold winter season approaches the affected areas.
We hosted a very pleasant Interfaith Hanukah party, meant as a “thank you” to all of our friends in the Interfaith community for their continued joint cooperation on many of the issues we care about. Cantors Sharon Hordes and David Lipp entertained our guests with a variety Chanukah songs; and, the JCC’s catering service provided traditional latkes and Israeli-style sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts). We were delighted to have a large contingent of middle school students from St. Francis of Assisi, as well as representatives from the Pakistani community and the Protestant community. Terry Taylor, Executive Director of Interfaith Paths to Peace, was also in attendance. A very good time was had by all.
We have formed a committee that is busy planning both the commemoration of Holocaust Remembrance Day; and, the May 15 to May 22, 2011 Israel Independence Week celebrations. Please watch for many other announcements to come in the very near future.
Another committee is working on putting together an Israel advocacy program on the campus at the University of Louisville on April 13. We intend to forcefully counter the many local attempts to demonize and delegitimize the sole democracy in the entire Middle East and America’s most dependable ally.