A number of generous grants for the 2015-2016 fiscal year from the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence enrich Jewish community members of all ages and keep vital programs going strong.
The JCC’s Seniors Department received $65,000 for its nutrition program, and $1,740 to fund the “Musical Memories” program.
The funds for the nutrition program will go towards continuing to provide seniors with low-cost or no-cost healthy kosher lunches five days a week at the JCC, or delivered to their homes if they are not able to transport themselves to the JCC and have no one at home to cook for them.
“The nutrition program could not survive without the grant money,” said JCC Senior Adult Director Diane Sadle. “For a lot of our Meals on Wheels clients, this is the only nutritious meal they get during the day. … We are so appreciative and we hope JHFE will continue to support our endeavors.”
“Musical Memories,” which debuted last July, takes place twice a month in the senior dining room. The sessions are led by Donna Brown, founder of Louisville Music Therapy. The money we received helps pay the teacher’s fee,” said Sadle.
Brown plays oldies on her iPhone to spark discussions about what memories and feelings they evoke for the seniors.
“It’s good for them to get talking and remembering the good old days because a lot of them are suffering from health problems and losses and this brings then back to a happier time,” Sadle said.
Sadle added that part of “Musical Memories” is an intergenerational program bringing together Early Learning Center students and the seniors. In November, ELC four-year-olds stopped in to “Musical Memories” to sing with and for the seniors.
For community members who want to be part of Louisville’s Jewish life, there are a bounty of outreach programs provided by the JCC.
JHFE contributed $98,000 for Jewish outreach, education and engagement.
Among the programs benefiting are PJ Library, a national outreach program which delivers a Jewish-themed book to children monthly from birth through third grade, Shalom Baby, a fun class for children up to 18 months old and their parents, Teen Connection, a Jewish youth group for middle school students, and the Young Adult Division (YAD), a program that brings folks in their 20’s and 30’s together for events encouraging leadership, networking and learning.
The outreach grant also funds Israel-oriented activities and guests, including the annual visit from a shlicha or emissary from Israel, who teaches elements of Israeli culture to summer campers, and the Tzofim Friendship Caravan, the traveling Israeli performance troupe that puts on shows for campers and the community.
JHFE also assisted the performing arts in Louisville’s Jewish community.
The CenterStage Acting Out traveling children’s theater troupe, received $10,000 to fund productions of And Then They Came for Me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank.
Acting Out brings full professional theater productions and corresponding educational exercises to area schools.
And Then They Came for Me is a moving and revelatory piece that adds dimension to Frank’s story and also tells the stories of her German Jewish friends and Holocaust survivors Eva Geiringer and Ed Silverberg.
The JCC’s Jewish/Israeli Speaker Series received $20,000.
“By subsidizing Jewish Israeli Speaker series, JHFE gives community members unique opportunities to meet writers, speakers and musicians, providing great learning and entertainment experiences that we otherwise would not be able to afford,” said Senior Adult Programming and Cultural Arts Director Slava Nelson, who oversees the speaker series.
The Louisville Jewish Film Festival, which returns in February (see story, Centerpiece, page 1), received a $7,000 grant.
“The funds from JHFE have enabled the Film Festival to keep prices the same every year and offer receptions following some of the films,” said Festival Director Marsha Bornstein. “Each year our film licenses increase in price. This helps us with our goal of achieving more diversity in the audience. The receptions give people a reason to stay after to discuss the film and socialize.”
JCC Camp received $15,000 for Yachad, a program that pairs campers with special needs with advocate counselors who help build confidence and make the camp experience fun, comfortable and manageable.
“Yachad means ‘together’ or ‘united’ in Hebrew,” Senior Director of Youth and Camping Services Betsy Schwartz said. “We at camp believe every child can make a friend, every child can participate and every child can succeed. We’re empowering these kids to grow throughout the camp experience.”
JHFE also contributed $58,000 for two years of funding for Jewish Identity Summer Scholarships for overnight camp and Israel summer experiences.
“Thanks to JHFE, many more Jewish children in Louisville are able to attend Jewish overnight camp or a Jewish summer experience,” said JCC Assistant Director of Youth Services Mike Steklof.
Additional grants include $25,000 for the JCC 125th Anniversary Gala on Saturday, February 20, at the Hyatt Regency Downtown (see story, page 1), and $5,900 for Hillel’s peer-to-peer outreach and for Hillel to bring an Israeli educational speaker here this coming spring.
JHFE has also continued their immensely generous pledge to the Annual Federation Campaign in the amount of $100,000. This year, the JHFE has added the Double Your Impact Challenge, which matches all new Campaign gifts and pledge increases up to $200,000.
JHFE also makes grants directly to other Jewish agencies and provides support for medical projects and agencies.