Jewish Louisville can create the future in 2019

Let’s take through our crystal ball, or perhaps virtual reality glasses, which ideally provide a glimpse into 2019. What might we see?
How will our plans and goals unfold in the year to come? How will we impact individual lives? What trends and events will influence the work we do and the people we engage?
We cannot predict the future, but we can create it.
Although we really don’t have those virtual reality glasses, we know the current themes that will carry us into next year. So, how can we influence those themes to make a difference?
Here are four outcomes we hope to see:

• Broaden and expand our community relations work.
Given the rise in activism and the strong legacy of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) in Louisville, the breadth and strength of our work is enhanced. Our responsibility to build coalitions – to be the voice of the organized Jewish community and advocate for public policy – is more important than ever. The escalation in anti-Semitic acts and hate crimes demands proactive education and action led by our JCRC. This year will include greater community effort to enhance the safety and security of Jewish Louisville.

• A deeper understanding of our demographics, attitudes and needs.
We have a collective responsibility to care for and serve those who need our services. Isolation and the high cost of services must not be a barrier to those in need of help. In 2019, the Jewish Community of Louisville (JCL) will make a greater effort to understand who makes up our community and what their needs are. As stewards of our donors’ dollars and trust, we secure and allocate precious funds for maximum impact.

• We strengthen community by securing, stewarding and sharing philanthropic resources.
Philanthropy and the shared vision for the community were front and center this year as we continued to build on the success of the Life & Legacy effort, women’s philanthropy and young leadership. We are fortunate to have dedicated volunteers who enthusiastically engage donors and potential donors in what it means to be Jewish and giving people the opportunity to participate in the mitzvah of supporting the community. We celebrate the unsung champions who work tirelessly to get the job done.

• Plans for the new J and campus will be introduced.
The 10th anniversary of the new JCL agency will be marked on April 13. The creation of our hybrid agency, bringing together the Jewish Federation and the JCC, generated a synergy with one board of directors, collaborative staffing and opportunities for innovation (and a little risk taking). Ten years later, with immense pride, we will share plans for the new campus for The J – the hub and destination for Jewish experiences.
I believe 2019 will bring important and exciting opportunities for Jewish Louisville. The needs are serious and important, but we are ready for the challenges ahead. As I said, we cannot predict the future, but each of us can help create it, making for a vibrant, caring, welcoming community and going from strength to strength.
Happy and Heathy New Year.

(Sara Klein Wagner is president and CEO of the Jewish Community of Louisville.)

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