[by Shiela Steinman Wallace]
Margot Kling has been named the recipient of the Jewish Community of Louisville’s 2012 Elsie P. Judah Award in recognition of the leadership she provides to the Jewish Community Center’s Senior Adult program.
“It means a lot to me,” Kling said, “and I really appreciate it.”
This year, she chairs the Senior Committee, but she has been an active member of the committee and program participant for many years, and she has been a leader in other areas as well. “The committee meets once a month and does the planning,” Kling explained. “I pitch in wherever I’m needed.”
She and her husband, David also enjoy participating in many senior activities. Once, she recalled, they participated in a trip to the Smoky Mountains.
They visited Israel in 1970.
Kling served on the Board of the Conference of Jewish Organizations (the predecessor of the Jewish Community Federation), and in the late 50’s, she was one of the women in the Jewish Community Federation’s Young Leadership Group, and later served as president of the Women’s Federation. That year, Bernice Ament was vice president, and Fanny Rose Rosenbaum and Naomi Pressma were also leaders. “We brought in Leah Rabin to speak,” she recalled, “and there were about 250 women at the luncheon for the Campaign.”
Over the years, she has served on the boards of the Federation, the JCC and the Jewish Social Service Agency (a predecessor of Jewish Family and Career Services), and numerous committees. Today, she is a member of the JCL’s Jewish Community Relations Council.
She helped raise money for the Annual Federation Campaign, co-chairing a division of the Women’s Campaign one year, helped with the capital campaign when the community raised money for the current JCC building, and served on the Publications Committee. “I was part of Selma Erlen’s modern dance group at the old YMHA” (Young Men’s Hebrew Association, the predecessor to the JCC), she recalled.
The Klings are founding members of Temple Shalom and have been leaders for the congregation. Margot has served on the Board continuously. She was the congregation’s first treasurer and has served as its Ritual Committee chair. She is also Temple Shalom’s representative on the Chavurat Shalom Board. She has also been very active with the Women of Temple Shalom, where she has served as treasurer and membership chair, and is a regular working the checkout at the group’s annual yard sale.
The Klings are also members of a Jewish-Catholic dialogue group that has been meeting for many years. Prior to the establishment of Temple Shalom, she served on the Board of Brith Sholom. She is a life member of Hadassah and National Council of Jewish Women, Louisville Section. She was the first volunteer with NCJW’s Court Watch program, and was the last one to leave the program.
In the general community, Kling has been a volunteer and served on the volunteer board for the Community Chest (a predecessor of Metro United Way), has worked for the Fund for the Arts, and served as president of the Seneca High School PTA.
Born in Germany, Kling’s father decided it was time to leave and come to America with his family. His brother had lived in New York since World War I, and her grandfather’s sister, originally from Germany, already called Louisville home. The family came straight to Louisville.
Kling first met her husband at Camp Tall Trees, where he was a counselor and she was a camper. “We didn’t marry until he got out of the Army and graduated from College.” They have now been married 65 years.
The couple had two children. Their daughter is Cookie (Ruth) Honigberg. Their son, Allan, died in an accident at age 27, 36 years ago. They also have two grandchildren, Cari and Shana, and a great granddaughter, Chloe.