The times they are a changing! A year after officially merging the Jewish Community Center and the Jewish Community Federation to form the Jewish Community of Louisville (JCL), a newcomer to our community, Stu Silberman, will be occupying the new JCL president/CEO office. Along with the duties incumbent to his office, Silberman, his wife, Alison, and daughters Skylar and Rachel, will be adjusting to a new Jewish community. It is important that we welcome them and ease their transition.
Leaving a familiar community for a new one and trading in an entrepreneurial, business-based position for one in the not-for-profit sector might seem daunting, but Stu and family seem up for the challenge. He has a working agenda in mind and plans to hit the ground running when he arrives at his JCL desk on June 30.
Let’s let our community pride shine a bit as we review what Louisville has to offer the Silbermans and other young families who move to our Jewish community.
While a recent article in Philadelphia’s Jewish Exponent mentioned 4th Street Live as a “glitzy entertainment epicenter” and spoke of “an alluring arts district anchored by the 21c Museum Hotel,” there is far more than art galleries and the whiskey industry (with its Jewish roots) to make us proud. We are a long-established Jewish community on the rise, and it is imperative for all of us to come together and play a part in its success.
Our Jewish community of 8,500 strong can boast, for instance, about the Jewish Community of Louisville, which has combined the best of the JCC and the former Jewish Community Federation to better serve our community’s needs. The Jewish Community of Louisville provides numerous services for all age groups including a vast array of classes (from fitness to the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School for Jewish study and much more) for JCC members and non-members alike. The JCL also serves as the Jewish community’s planning, financial resource development, leadership development and community relations body. Our Community Relations Council and Hillel program at the University of Louisville ensure a strong Jewish presence in the general community and on our college campuses. The JCL’s Foundation for Planned Giving functions as the only permanent source of endowed funds serving the entire Jewish community.
We can also be proud of our award-winning Jewish Family & Career Services, which provides individuals and families with the support they need to live better lives. Our five synagogues and various Jewish educational opportunities permit Jewish learning to flourish for students from preschool age to senior years. For a community our size, we are fortunate to have a Vaad HaKashruth, a mikvah and an eruv to serve our entire community, and a National Council of Jewish Women’s Chapter that counts 1,000 members strong. We also have a Jewish Hospital that is a center for excellence in a number of medical specialties.
Bear in mind, our community’s many benefits have come at a price – both financial and physical. We can look back to our leaders of yesterday with profound thanks for their monetary support and for the time they spent establishing many of the services we are now fortunate enough to take for granted. They also volunteered their time and their energy to ensure that future generations – our generation – would have what they need to succeed Jewishly. To hallow their memory, we can do no less for the generations yet to come.
Yes, we have a lot to offer the Silbermans and others who choose to make Louisville their home. Together with our privileges must also come our commitment to pay back in terms of service and support to ensure that those who come after us will be similarly blessed. Please consider how you can help the Jewish community go from strength to strength – and then volunteer to do exactly that.