Members of the Jewish Federation of Louisville’s Lion of Judah Division had many reasons to celebrate when they met for brunch at Kate Latts’ home on Sunday, January 8.
“It was a really great event,” Latts said. “It was a nice, sunny day and everyone was excited to start the year off seeing the other Lions and hearing from the women who participated in the Israel trip,” learning about a new project and welcoming two new Lions.
Jane Goldstein, the 2017 Federation Campaign co-chair, said she was impressed by the comments made by the two young women, Jessica Springer and Paola Moretta, who just returned from Israel on the free Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project (JWRP) MOMentum program.
Springer and Moretta spoke about how The MOMentum trip, which is for Jewish mothers with children under the age of 18, changed their lives.
“It was gratifying to see Lion dollars at work and to confirm how valuable our donations are to the community,” Goldstein said.
Originally from Harrisburg, PA, Springer has made her home in Louisville for over five years with her husband, Jeff, and sons Maximus and Samuel. She said she always felt unsure of her connection to Judaism, though she knew that it was important to her. So when the opportunity to make the trip arose, her husband encouraged her to go.
Being part of a group of 16 Jewish mothers from Louisville experiencing Israel and Shabbat together engendered a sense of belonging for her. As a result, she has been doing things to enhance her family’s Shabbat experience since her return.
Born and raised in Ecuador, Moretta chose Judaism after she met her now-husband, Adam. Long-time members of The Temple, they have a 4-year-old son, Asher.
Since she chose Judaism, Moretta felt there were gaps in her Jewish background that would always be there since she wasn’t raised in the faith. She said the JWRP experience created for her the Jewish family she needed and strengthened her religious identity.
Both women described their experiences as life changing and the friendships they developed as close and supportive.
Another JWRP trip is planned for next year.
While the trip is free for the participants, it is funded through JWRP, the Israeli Government, the Jewish Foundation of Louisville, The Kling Hadassah Fund, The Stuart Pressma Fund, The Stacy Marks Nisenbaum Fund and the Jewish Federation of Louisville.
For the Lions, who contribute a minimum of $5,000 a year to the Annual Federation Campaign, Springer and Moretta exemplified the importance of the work made possible by their support.
Pearls of Wisdom
Also at the brunch, Cheryl Karp introduced a new interactive project for Louisville’s Lions called Pearls of Wisdom. She invited the Lions to share lessons they have learned from life and bits of wisdom by writing about them in a shared journal.
As each “pearl” is added to the book, a pearl bead will be added to a strand, creating a visual representation of the collected effort.
Promising that she had a large supply of beads, Karp started the project with two of her own pearls and encouraged everyone there to add to it in the weeks and months to come.
Two new Lions were pinned in a special ceremony that includes a blessing created specifically for the occasion.
Robin Miller received her pin from her mother, Marilyn Goldberg, who is a Lion of Judah in her home community, Detroit. She came to Louisville to honor her daughter.
Maxine Rouben received her pin from Debbie Friedman.
Also, it was announced that Shiela Steinman Wallace endowed her Lion of Judah donation.
“It was wonderful to welcome new Lions,” Goldstein said. “Maxine Rouben’s commitment is very special, and the legacy of one generation to another, as what Robin Miller and her mother did, was joyful.
“The endowment of Shiela Wallace’s Lion of Judah donation is extraordinary,” she continued, “and one for which we are all grateful. It was a terrific morning.”