Louisville’s Jewish Community Is Moving Forward

Our shared history and shared future is the core strength and connection of our Jewish community. How we care for, celebrate and engage today will impact the future. As we begin the new year 5777, there will be significant new and meaningful opportunities to focus on our responsibility and to take action to affect and impact Jewish life in Louisville. We are focused and proud of three important examples for communal changes that will take place this year.

Israel: The Jewish State

Our Louisville community has been made stronger from 20 years of participating in Partnership2gether. We have built true relationships and friendships with people in the Western Galilee.

Two weeks ago Louisville hosted 17 women – Jewish, Arab and Bedouin. One event took place at the River Road Mosque. When it was time for evening prayers, the entire group was invited to join in. The raw emotion of several Jewish Israeli women after evening prayer was palpable and distinctly memorable. One participant publicly shared how moved she was to join in the service as the other participants had also shared a Shabbat service. Together, the women, who have come together over the past year to build bridges, genuinely want to develop a relationship among themselves, their families and their communities.

While we are very proud of our work in the Western Galilee, we know that there are also other issues within Israeli society that deserve our attention.

On November 20, our community will come together for a unique dialogue that will be a first in North America. We are proud to join together with four congregations, Adath Jeshurun, Keneseth Israel, The Temple and Temple Shalom, to host leaders of Masorti (Conservative Movement), the Progressive Movement (Reform) and the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) to discuss the crucial issue of religious equality in Israel.

This is a pivotal moment. Mark your calendars: November 20, 7 p.m. at The Temple. Together our community will hear from three esteemed leaders addressing one of the most pressing issues related to Israel’s future and specifically, Israel’s relationship with North American Jews.

Jewish Louisville

Secondly, we have an incredible opportunity to come together and begin to create a transformational movement for our Jewish community starting with a Community Think Tank. The leadership of our community recognizes the need for increased engagement, to take changing demographics into account and to promote Jewish identity. Our congregations, Jewish Family & Career Services, the Jewish Federation and the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence have come together, led by a steering committee of our rabbis, cantors and executive directors. We will welcome Rabbi Irwin Kula, an international thought leader, to help our community understand and prioritize the significant changes needed to make today to ensure a vibrant community for the future.

The Community Think Tank is open to all. Please register online at www.jewishlouisville.org/thinktank. The event will be November 29, 7 p.m. at Adath Jeshurun.

J Home for the Future

At our 125 Gala, we promised the community a blueprint for our collective home away from home, The J. This will be an important year as our work to create a much needed new home to meet the needs of the community.

Formal planning has begun, and we are fortunate that Dr. Jeff Goldberg will chair the leadership team recommending the next chapter for the J. As our community has evolved and the J has welcomed and supported Jewish experiences for 126 years, we are prepared to take the big steps needed to ensure our facility is elevated to match our programs and experiences. Recently, we have taken some significant steps that will enable us to do the work necessary to involve the community and will lead to making the best decisions for our future. We look forward to including you in the process, sharing regular updates and marking milestones along the way.

We are proud to work with a dedicated group of Board members and staff as we are committed to bring relevant and meaningful change and action to the Louisville Jewish community. In close alliance with the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence, we will collaborate with all of Louisville’s Jewish agencies and institutions to develop a unified, forward-looking plan to build a vibrant Jewish community. That plan will address our facilities, programs and building our endowment to provide a sound financial footing for generations to come.

With a continued focus on identifying our needs to ensure a vibrant Jewish community for years and years to come, we look forward to meeting the needs of our community members.

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