“We are living in a moment when everything is up for debate, everything is being redefined ….”
Rabbi Irwin Kula
When Rabbi Kula, president of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, spoke recently in Louisville, he described how people often don’t resist change; rather, they fear loss.
That’s understandable. Loss can be a visceral and raw emotion, but I was also struck by the potential of the inverse. How can we help people embrace change as something new and exciting that will energize and inspire a transformation in our community?
In fact, we plan for good changes all the time. As New Year’s resolutions unfold this month, some of us look for change by improving our diets; some make changes by increasing their exercise habits; some make commitments to change behaviors, to create positive change.
For our Jewish community, Rabbi Kula gave us a gift. Gathered together, the leadership of our community received a not-so-gentle nudge to understand the changes happening in our community. We were given a wakeup call to find meaningful and relevant ways to embrace and understand the needs of those we serve. It is our responsibility to look ahead with clear eyes and vision of sustainability; 2017 is here and the Jewish Federation and the JCC have important work and opportunities ahead. Our year ahead includes JTomorrow!, the Federation’s annual campaign and serving those who are counting on us for quality programs and services.
For the next few months our focus is on JTomorrow!, our community initiative to reimagine the JCC and Jewish programs that will provide direction for our community. The steering committee, which is led by Jeff Goldberg, meets next week.
The annual campaign provides the support that sustains and enables our community to thrive. Every donor and every gift counts. We need everyone to answer the call. Super Sunday is on January 29.
I am so proud of the experience and opportunities we offer the community. There are many places to participate, from the Jewish Film Festival kicking off in February to PJ Library. Our Jewish Community Relations Council works hard every day to build bridges with coalition partners and remain vigilant as we monitor safety and security in an ever changing world.
Please join me as we learn, grow and drive meaningful action for a vibrant, sustainable Jewish community in Louisville. Join me as we embrace change.
(Sara Wagner is the president and CEO of Jewish Community of Louisville.)