[by Shiela Steinman Wallace]
The Jewish Community of Louisville has hired Matthew L. Goldberg to serve as the director of the Community Relations Council and to help with the JCL Annual Campaign.
Goldberg is a Jewish community professional with a law degree who has worked with several Jewish agencies in the Baltimore, MD, area. He will be starting his new responsibilities in Louisville on May 4.
The Community Relations Council is the public voice of the organized Jewish community. To be effective in that role, Goldberg plans “to listen to as many people in the community … as possible, and to work with the CRC to build consensus on important issues.” He expects the CRC to address “issues involving Israel, issues involving the Jewish community on the national level, and issues involving the local Jewish community.
“My aim is for the CRC to continue to be a resource” for both the Jewish and general communities, he explained, and “to increase its visibility. I want the CRC to continue to draw participation and representation from across the community.”
“I’m looking forward to working with all the different faith-based movements in Louisville,” he continued, “and working on interfaith committees where the Jewish community and other faith communities have shared interests.”
Goldberg knows the CRC has a long tradition of working to increase communal understanding of the Jewish community as well, whether it’s helping community members with conflicts between classes or events in the public schools and Jewish observance, interfacing with a speaker at a local event who made a comment that “people feel might be in conflict with the Jewish community,” or taking teachers to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to help them learn how to teach the lessons of the Shoah.
“I am delighted with Matt’s decision to join us,” said CRC Chair Leon Wahba. “He had greatly impressed each of the panelists that interviewed him. I look forward to working closely with him, and I am very confident that he will serve our community very well.”
Goldberg and his wife, Lisa, are eager to come to Louisville. “My in-laws, Mark and Laura Rothstein, are both professors at the University of Louisville,” he explained, “so I’ve been coming to Louisville since I started dating my wife, three or four times a year for the last five years. Every time I’ve come, I’ve just loved it more and more.
“So when this opportunity presented itself,” he said, “I really jumped at the chance. My wife is also very excited to be living in the same city as her parents and other family members.”
Goldberg spent his early years in New York, and moved to Boca Raton, FL, for high school. He was affiliated with an Orthodox synagogue that partnered with BBYO (B’nai B’rith Youth Organization).
He earned his B.A. in religion with a minor in Judaic studies from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and earned his J.D, from the University of Baltimore Law School. He also spent three months studying at Ohr Sameach Yeshiva in Jerusalem, and during his college years, spent a month backpacking through Europe. He speaks some Hebrew.
Goldberg has a long history of commitment to tikkun olam – the repair of the world. He served as a project director in 2007 for the American Jewish Society for Service in Little Rock, AR. In that position, he provided leadership and leadership opportunities for groups of high school students working with Habitat for Humanity to build houses for Hurricane Katrina evacuees. Part of the experience entailed living in an African American church.
Most recently, he worked as a lawyer for the offices of W. Stanwood Whiting in Baltimore, and served as the director of Hebrew reading and tutoring in addition to teaching third grade Hebrew School at Beth El Congregation in Pikesville, MD.
He has also been a program leader for the Jewish Funds for Justice where he provided leadership for high school age participants in Operation Shema, a social justice project facilitated by BBYO.
Lisa Rothstein-Goldberg teaches sociology at Stevenson University and Harford Community College and serves as a youth director at Beth El Congregation.
Last year, both Goldbergs assisted his cousin, author Mitch Albom, with research for his most recent book, Have a Little Faith.