Newcomers Commitee Gains New Chairs

[Archived from March 20, 2009]

[by Shiela Steinman Wallace]

If you’ve ever moved to a new town, you know how challenging it can be. There are a myriad of details to attend to, and you don’t know where anything is. Even after a few months, making the right connections to find doctors, places of worship and friends can be difficult.

The Jewish Community Federation’s Newcomers Committee works hard to ensure that newcomers to Louisville can easily make connections with the Jewish community, and Julie Marks and Karen Kohn have stepped forward to chair the committee continue the successful work done by Meredith Bloomberg and Hilary Pohn.

“I am looking forward to working with Karen and Allison [Allison Schwartz, the Federation’s Outreach Director],” said Marks, “to coordinate some fun activities to introduce the newcomers to people who have lived in the community for a long time as well as others who are new to the city.”

“One of my first contacts with the Jewish community here was going to a newcomers brunch,” Kohn said. “Some of my closest friends today are people I met at that brunch.”

Kohn believes it is a great way “to show people where they can become involved.” It provides information for families with young children to retirees, and helps people connect with others with similar interests.

“We are hoping to continue the good work of Hilary and Meredith,” she added, “and continue with the newcomer baskets.”

Looking ahead, Marks and Kohn are planning a couple of events and are considering different events for people of different ages. “We’re also recruiting ambassadors,” Kohn said. “We hope to pair people with common interests and backgrounds and have some of the ambassadors take the newcomers out, one-on-one, for coffee or lunch.”

Marks is a Louisville native. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist and a licensed clinical social worker with an MA in counseling psychology and an MSSW in social work from the University of Louisville.

Currently, she works as the director of student services at St. Francis School in Goshen.

She is a member of the Jewish Community Federation’s The PJ Library Committee and helped with this year’s Young Adult Division (YAD) Main Event, serving as a table captain. She also serves on the Adath Jeshurun Preschool Auxiliary Board.

She is a member of National Council of Jewish Women, Louisville Section.

She and her husband, Rodney, have two children, Sydney, 5, and Ryan, 2-1/2.

Originally from Long Island, NY, Kohn came to Louisville five years ago by way of Dallas, TX. An attorney who does contract work in addition to being a full-time mother, she graduated from Duke University and earned her JD at the University fo Texas School of Law in Austin.

Kohn recently completed the Federation’s Young Leadership Development (YLD) program and is currently serving an internship on the Board of the Community Relations Council. She co-chaired the Federation’s successful YAD picnic this past fall and, like Marks, is a member of the Federation’s  The PJ Library Committee. She also serves on The Temple Trager Preschool Board, where she is in charge of planning parent activities.

She is a member of National Council of Jewish Women, Louisville Section, and The Temple.

She and her husband, Alan, have two daughters, Kendall, 5-1/2, and Samantha, 3-1/2.

If you are new to Louisville or would like more information about the Federation’s Newcomers Committee, please contact Allison Schwartz, or 618-5325; or visit the Federation’s web site,

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