[by Phyllis Shaikun]
For many years, Jewish Hospital HealthCare Services (JHHS), a not-for-profit (501 c 3) organization, has had as its mission to invest in the local healthcare market, promote medical research and support the Jewish community. In addition to maintaining the JHHS Senior Services Endowment to benefit the Jewish elderly, two years ago the JHHS Board created the Louisville Jewish Community Excellence Grants program to function as a permanent funding source for local charitable organizations that develop programs focused on Jewish culture/identity, health, human services and education. Both the senior grants and excellence grants programs are now housed in the new $80 million JHHS Foundation, which has been created in large part with financial proceeds from the Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s HealthCare merger with the St. Joseph Heath System.
“We will continue to make grants to the Jewish community as the new JHHS Foundation hones its mission and purpose,” says David Kaplan, chairperson of the JHHS Grants Committee. He also noted that the new foundation is separate from the Jewish Hospital and St. Mary’s Foundation, which will continue as it has previously.
“We have a hard working and multi-talented group of people serving on the 2012 Grants Committee,” Kaplan reports, “and we will be expanding our focus this year by adding a medical research component to our deliberations. I look forward to a highly productive and beneficial year for our entire community. We are pleased that funding has already helped in the development of a number of innovative new programs and expanded services.”
Jewish Family & Career Services received a Senior Services Grant to help cover expenses for non-medical homecare services and case management for Jewish seniors; to support the PALS same-day medical transportation program; and to assist the agency’s prescription/assistive device reimbursement program. JFCS Executive Director Judy Freundlich Tiell considers the grant vital to JFCS because it helps keep Jewish seniors independent and safe in their homes. She offered thanks to JHHS “for partnering with us in this critical endeavor.”
JFCS also received a JHHS Excellence Grant to launch a volunteer e-newsletter. “Our volunteers provide over 27, 000 hours of volunteer service annually to JFCS,” says Tiell, “and we could not offer all the services we do without our volunteers. The newsletter will allow us to showcase them, inform the community of new volunteer opportunities and stress the incredible impact volunteers make in our agency and our community. We truly appreciate the support.”
The Temple received several Excellence Grants for its educational programs, including one that provides for the purchase of books for their Temple Scholar’s program. “This will allow the class to pursue study on subjects of great interest to them,” said Rabbi David Ariel-Joel. He believes the impact will be further realized as current and future students gain an understanding and appreciation for Jewish texts. Excellence Grants also will allow The Temple to improve its library’s Children’s Literature section with the purchase of new books and new furniture to make the area more user-friendly and provide prayer books for children to keep for in-home use.
The Temple’s Rabbi Joe Rapport received a grant for an exciting new program, TorahTechah – Building Jewish Literacy, Learning and Life, that combines software products with web-based applications to create a religious studies curriculum to enhance Hebrew and Sunday school classes. The grant funds the purchase of computer hardware to implement the program.
The High School of Jewish Studies received an Excellence Grant to help offset the salary of a curriculum director for a second year. “The impact the curriculum director has made on the school has been fantastic,” said Sam Gordon, the school’s principal. “She implemented a new curriculum, began new classes, helped with the recruitment of new teachers and increased the enrollment of ninth graders. We also have seen increased participation by parents. We are appreciative of the JHHS grant that made all this possible.”
Congregation Adath Jeshurun was grateful to receive funding for a new venture, a Community Seder, for the first night of Passover. “We wanted to be able to offer members and non-members the opportunity to take part in a Passover Seder at a reduced price and invite college students to attend free of charge,” said Deborah Slosberg, adult education coordinator. “We wanted to remove cost as the reason for not attending, and are appreciative that the Excellence Grant allowed us to do that. More than 70 people came to the event, 20 percent of whom were subsidized by the grant.”
“The National Council of Jewish Women, Louisville Section, is grateful to JHHS’ Excellence Grants initiative,” said Ellen Rosenbloom, chair of NCJW’s grants, bequests and donations program. “Our most recent grant will fund a year of programming at the NCJW Jewish Resource Center, which enables some 1,000 clients, teachers and students in the area to learn about Jewish holidays, history and culture.” An earlier Excellence Grant helped the section develop an interactive website for its Nearly New Shop. Rosenbloom considers JHHS grants “a fabulous community resource.”
The members of Temple Shalom extended their “deepest gratitude to the JHHS Grants Committee for their most generous support of KlezmerFest 2012,” according to Helene Kramer Longton, chairperson of the event. “Last year, the first year of the program, a JHHS grant helped us expand our offerings and several hundred people enjoyed a wonderful musical evening. Your assistance again this year has allowed us to once more enhance our program, and we look forward to even more community participation. We thank JHHS for enabling us to keep this rich genre of Jewish folk music alive through the only festival of its kind in Kentucky.”
An Excellence Grant helped six young Jews in their 20’s and 30’s attend Tribefest, a national conference hosted by the Jewish Federations of North America in Las Vegas. “The grant provided a unique experience for these young adults they could not have afforded on their own,” said the Jewish Community of Louisville’s (JCL) Tzivia Levin Kalmes. “As a result, they were exposed to global Jewish issues and strengthened their involvement in the Louisville Jewish community by sharing their newfound knowledge with their peers here. We appreciate the committee for providing this unparalleled opportunity.”
A JHHS grant allowed the JCL to stage a highly successful communitywide celebration of Israel Independence Day featuring the Yeshiva University Maccabeats. This a cappella group rocked the hall with a series of clearly Jewish pieces designed to appeal to the young and the young at heart. Most recently, the Jewish Community Center received an Excellence Grant to fund the purchase of a Sportwall Xer Trainer, a computer game-driven unit with interactive stations that can be used for fitness programming across all age groups. “The unit will be the only one of its size in Kentucky,” said JCL President/CEO Stu Silberman, “and we are grateful for JHHS’s support.”
Silberman also expressed thanks to the committee for providing a JHHS Senior Services grant to help provide kosher meals for homebound seniors in the Jewish community. “I look forward to continuing to work with JHHS,” he said, “to achieve our mutual objectives of maintaining a healthy community and improving quality of life.”
Applications for JHHS Excellence Grants may be submitted year ’round. Requests for consideration during the October funding period are due September 30. For more information, contact Phyllis Shaikun at 540-3656.