This is a time of rejuvenation and rebirth – a time when we are reminded of the beauty of nature and the promise of warmer weather on the horizon. We have already turned the clocks forward and sunset is occurring later every evening. Two very important celebrations are just around the corner, Passover and the Kentucky Derby.
Passover has always been one of my favorite holidays as it represents a time when family and friends gather to tell the story of our Exodus from Egypt so that the youngest amongst us will learn and remember the story, so they too will retell it to their children and grandchildren.
Each year around my Seder table everyone present is an active participant. When my children were younger, their friends (Jewish and non-Jewish alike) would compete to see who might be invited to join us for our celebration. I always believed we could add an endless number of chairs around the table and we would welcome anyone who had no family or friends close by, and those who just wanted to be a part of our celebration.
But Passover is not just a holiday to observe, enjoy and forget. We must take its message to heart. For eight days, when we give up bread and leavened treats, we must remember that many people in Louisville, across America and globally do not have enough food daily to sustain their lives.
When we recline at our tables to signify the rights of free people everywhere, we must remember there are many people in our world who are not free and who fight for basic human rights. When we bring our parents and grandparents to join us for this celebration of renewed life and freedom, let us not forget the many who are housebound and unable to join us as they struggle with health and mobility issues.
During these eight days, please remember that you can help the Jewish Federation of Louisville allocate more funds to our community partners and agencies so we might make a greater difference here and around the globe. Please go to www.jewishlouisville.org/donate right now to help us help others.
Of course, we also have the opportunity to join the entire community in the uniquely Louisville celebration that is the Kentucky Derby Festival. I too have been engaged by this celebration and feel grateful to be living in such a vibrant and exciting community where something is always happening. I am not just referring to Derby and the greater Louisville community, but also to our own Louisville Jewish community.
There are so many programs and opportunities to be involved in, and I wish I could participate in all of them. I wish you and your family and your friends could participate in more than you even know are happening. This is one of our biggest challenges; how do we tell you about all the wonderful Jewish events and programs available each and every week, and how do we engage you to help us make sure these programs and services are available for generations to come?
Fortunately for the Louisville Jewish community there are individuals, foundations, corporations and others, who care about what we are now, and share our dreams and hopes for the future. I thank everyone who supports our efforts through the annual Federation Campaign and by making passionate contributions to support the programs they value most.
Right now, I would like to recognize the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence (JHFE) for their most recent grant to the Jewish Community of Louisville. Thank you for having the insight to support our efforts to keep this Jewish community strong and vibrant.
The Foundation understands the significance and importance of the programs and services provided within our JCC walls as demonstrated by their continued support for our mission driven offerings, such as BBYO, PJ Library, Shalom Baby, Hillel, JCRC and other community outreach programs and services.
JHFE also understands our substantial facility challenges, and with this grant they are helping us address some of them.
With this grant, The Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence has also presented us with a match challenge. They have challenged all of us to raise an additional $120,000 for facility improvements; and as we do, the foundation will match these funds dollar for dollar up to $120,000! This is our opportunity to double the impact of your contributions and help secure the future of our community.
In the story on page 1 of this issue of Community, you will find details of some of the improvements you will soon see thanks to the generosity and community insight of JHFE. With your help, there will be many more.
Please remember that together we do extraordinary things!
Chag Sameach! Happy holiday!