Letter to community: All Jews are responsible for each other

Sara Klein Wagner, president and CEO of the JCL, with Board Chair Jon Fleischaker

Dear Jewish Louisville,
We have completed another week of social distancing at home. Clearly the reality of the coronavirus has changed our lives, perhaps forever.
If only this were a Hollywood movie; the heroes would make things right before the credits roll.
The truth is, we know that this situation is causing anxiety and uneasiness.
But we also must recognize the many heroes tackling the uncertainty of our “new normal” – embracing our Jewish values of bikur holim, caring for the sick, gemilut chasidim, acts of loving kindness, areyvut, community mindedness and yetziratiut, creativity.
We are proud of the incredible efforts by our friends, neighbors and family serving as health care providers, and those ensuring that our basic needs are met. We are eternally grateful to those on the front line; and pray for their health and safety.
Within our Jewish community, we owe a collective kol hakavod (all respect) to our community leaders. Our synagogues are livestreaming services, The J is preparing mass quantities of meals for delivery to our seniors. We are sharing virtual fitness classes for all to take advantage of.
The Jewish Family & Career Services continues to provide client services through telecommunications – something of which we can all be proud.
As always, your Federation is here for you. While we closed our building during this extraordinary period, The Federation itself never closes. We must respond and act together as one united Jewish Louisville to navigate the months ahead, to rebuild and to repair the infrastructure that has supported our community and will continue to serve and change lives for generations of Jewish Louisvillians.
Our response is focused on the following:
• The Powered by You Federation annual campaign is ready to respond by using dollars it has, and will raise, to support the most essential needs of our community. We know our donors and community want to help both the individual and organizational needs.
• As we always do during a crisis, we will work with agency and synagogue leaders to hear their needs and serve as a convener and resource.
For more than 30 years, I have had the privilege of working in our Jewish community with outstanding professionals and volunteers. Over the past few years, I have seen our Federation and the JCC become appropriately poised for a new era. The work of our staff and volunteers has been inspiring and we will use this spirit to weather the storm and prepare for the joyful day when we will open our doors again.
Last April, our board of directors approved a new vision: to inspire meaningful lives while transforming our Jewish future. We are more committed than ever to do just that: Here are some highlights from the past two years:
• LIFE & LEGACY secured over $7 million
• 60 young moms participated in Momentum trips to Israel.
• The Louisville chapter of the Muslim Jewish Advisory Council was launched
• SAFE Louisville established as a coordinated approach ensuring the safety and security of our Jewish community.
• The Our Community, Our Future Campaign has raised over $37 million to date.
Together, we will support each other through this crisis and come back stronger than ever. As the Talmud teaches, Kol Yisrael Aravim Zeh B‘Zeh. Yes, we are all responsible for each other.
We will need everyone’s help as we reimagine and reboot. Please, when you are called upon for support, we ask you to give generously. Thank you for making the community stronger.
Sara Klein Wagner
President & CEO
Jewish Community of Louisville


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