The end of the secular year is fast approaching. It is a time to reflect on the past year and to look ahead to the next.
For the Jewish Community of Louisville (JCL), 2011 has been a year of change and innovation as we come together as a strong, unified agency seeking to meet the needs of Louisville’s Jewish community in a way that is both responsive to community needs and fiscally responsible.
Some of the changes are visible and others are more hidden. They involve the Jewish Community Center building, the organization and structure of the staff, creative programming and total financial resource development.
In June, our JCC building got a major facelift, thanks to 300 General Electric volunteers and the generous support of our members and supporters. These improvements are easy to spot – new flooring, fresh paint, upgraded locker rooms, new TVs in the workout areas, a gaga pit (for a popular Israeli game) and more. New exercise equipment was added, too.
Other infrastructure improvements are less visible. Old, leaky cooling towers were replaced, bringing greater reliability and more efficiency to the JCC’s heating system. New sump pumps in the sub-basement will alleviate flooding issues during heavy rains. There’s new air conditioning coming for the auditorium, too.
To ensure that your experience with the JCL is positive, whether you’re attending an annual Federation Campaign event or working out in the gym at the JCC or attending a lecture or a play, the JCL staff has been reorganized. Staff members are making an extra effort to welcome you. We’re creating new programs, like Trek to Israel (see story, page 1), to meet your needs.
We’ve brought in WTS to manage our membership and fitness programs, bringing Larry Mestel back to Louisville and recruiting several others who are here to meet your needs.
We’ve restructured our Board of Direc-tors and spelled out our expectations, including serving on committees and making meaningful pledges to the Federation Campaign and Metro United Way.
When it comes to creativity, one need look no further than camp to see our staff in action. Our campus was bursting at the seams all summer as enrollment soared. Winter Camp is underway now as each day, children explore “All the Things You Can Think,” with a different overall theme every day.
Exciting teen programming has our middle and high schoolers engaged and eager to participate in activities that range from purely social to tikkun olam projects.
On top of its professional quality theater productions and magnificent Light Up CenterStage gala, CenterStage is be-
ginning a touring children’s theater company, Acting Out, to bring plays to schools.
Our Jewish Community Relations Council is there to advocate for Jewish community interests and Israel, safeguard against anti-Semitism and build bridges with secular groups and other faith communities. Hillel serves as a Jewish home away from home for our college students.
Regular updates in Community and an open door policy are adding transparency to what we’re doing. If you have an idea, a comment, a question or a complaint, JCL professionals and Board members are available for phone calls, e-mails, letters and face-to-face meetings.
We’re also striving to make our events more inclusive. From Campaign events to the PJ Library to YAD events, we are striving to lower the barriers to participation and invite you to be part of the community.
With a new name, the Jewish Foundation of Louisville is now being organized to ensure that the integrity of existing endowments – both Second Century Funds and funds held by the Foundation for Planned Giving – is maintained, and that steps will be taken to grow that resource.
Looking ahead to the future, a strategic planning process is underway to ensure that your JCL is on the right course.
All of this is exciting and positive, but the continued success of your JCL lies in your hands. The dollars raised through the annual Federation Campaign make it possible for the JCL to do all these things and much more. Those dollars also go to support our family of local agencies, including Jewish Family & Career Services and our local Jewish educational programs.
The Campaign also enables the Louisville Jewish community to be an active participant in the world Jewish community – doing our share to take care of Jews-at-risk around the world, connecting with our partners in Israel’s Western Galilee and engaging in dialogue with our national and international partners as we strive to make the world a better place.
Now it’s time for you to do your part.
The future of our Jewish community is now in your hands. You can be part of the effort that helps us create a sustainable, vibrant and inviting Jewish community for you, your children, and for generations by making a generous donation to the 2012 Federation Annual Campaign. And if you do it before December 31, you may be able to claim your donation on this year’s taxes.