News and Newsmakers

Paley to make 2018 Naamani Lecture

Nina Paley

Animator and filmmaker Nina Paley will be the guest speaker of the 2018 Naamani Memorial Lecture at 1 p.m., Sunday, March 25, in the University of Louisville’s Rauch Planetarium.
Established in 1979, the lecture series honors the memory of Professor Israel T. Naamani, a UofL scholar and teacher. This year, it also marks the passing of his wife, Zehava Naamani, who died on December 18.
A well-known animator and feminist activist, Paley will use the pre-Passover event to speak on the premiere of her new film Seder-Masochism, a provocative animated story about the Ten Plagues.
Paley created the animated musical Sita Sings the Blues, a retelling of a 3,000-year-old Sanskrit epic that Roger Ebert proclaimed one of the best films of 2009.
She also made This Land Is Mine: A Brief History of the Land called Israel/Palestine/Canaan/the Levant. The film is a meditation on the region’s long history of conflict that can be viewed on YouTube.
RSVPs are encouraged. Contact Ranen Omer-Sherman at

‘Never Again’ film to air in February on KET

The story behind Never Again, the series of life-size Holocaust murals from Western Kentucky University, is told in a new KET film that will air at 10:30 p.m., Sunday, February 25, on public television.
Murals of the Holocaust will include interviews with Ron Skillern, the 2017 Kentucky Teacher of the Year who has taught all the students who made the murals, and with Holocaust survivor Fred Gross.
The student-made murals were done as part of the Holocaust studies class at the WKU summer program for gifted students, VAMPY (Visually and Mathematically Precocious Youth).
A preview of the 30-minute film was held on February 19 at the Kentucky Center for the Arts.

Shir, LHOME, revitalize underserved markets

Amy Shir

Amy Shir has been named executive director of The Louisville Housing Opportunities and Micro-Enterprise Community Development Loan Fund, Inc. (LHOME), an emerging community development financial institution that provides credit and financial services to underserved markets and populations.

A nonprofit organization launched in 2012 by Jewish Family & Career Services (JFCS) and the Metropolitan Housing Coalition, Inc., LHOME helps to revitalize low-income communities in Louisville through affordable housing loans.
Together with JFCS’ Navigate Enterprise Center, it provides low-interest micro-loans to local refugees. One recent recipient from Somalia purchased a lift-equipped minivan to provide non-emergency medical transportation for Medicaid-reimbursable trips.
LHOME also provides products and services not currently offered at scale in Louisville, such as first and second mortgages, down-payment assistance and closing cost mortgage loans, property tax mortgage loans, home repair, renovation mortgage loans and business micro-loans and credit builder loans.
Shir has been working in the economic empowerment field for 18 years. She was a senior municipal bond analyst at Moody’s Investors Service in New York and a senior vice president of marketing at NationsBank in Atlanta.
Shir also directed the marketing efforts of Security First Network Bank, the world’s first internet bank. She started up an international internet bank marketing consulting business in 1997, spoke at conferences around the world, and helped banks worldwide launch internet banking services.
In 2000, Shir launched the refugee matched savings program for the Jewish Family and Vocational Service in Louisville. In 2003, she became the director of economic development at the Institute for Social and Economic Development, where she served as the leading provider nationwide of training and technical assistance for refugee economic development programs.
She launched the Kentucky Asset Building Coalition and chaired the Kentucky Coalition for Responsible Lending.
Shir also serves on the executive committee for Bank on Louisville and the Louisville Asset Building Coalition and sits on the city’s Resilience Steering Committee. A graduate of Syracuse University and Wesleyan University, Shir lives in Louisville with her husband, Ron, and two teenagers, Miriam and Gabriel.

Internships available for Jewish college students

Jewish Family & Career Services and the Jewish Community of Louisville will again offer paid internships for Jewish college students this summer.
The internships are in a variety of fields, from accounting to theater, connecting interns to their major and career goals.
In addition, JFCS and JCL interns will meet regularly to receive professional development around career and employment issues and learn more about the Louisville Jewish community.
The internship program generally runs for nine weeks and offers full-time positions that come with $2,500 stipends. Available positions and the application can be found at

Preference is given to applications that are received by March 30. Contact Erin Heakin, JFCS career counselor, at 502-452- 6341 ext. 246 or for more information.

JCL promotes Gordon-Funk to senior VP

Stacy Gordon-Funk

Stacy Gordon-Funk

Stacy Gordon-Funk has been promoted to senior vice president of philanthropy at the Jewish Community of Louisville.
“It is an honor and a true privilege to work in partnership with members of the Jewish community and the community at large to change and improve lives,” Gordon-Funk said. “I’m grateful to assist CEO Sara Wagner in leading an organization that has meant so much to me and my family.”
Gordon-Funk has been involved with fundraising for many years. She previously served as president of the Kentucky/Southeast Indiana Chapter of the National MS Society and as director of development and marketing for the Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kentuckiana.
“How fortunate we are to have Stacy leading our philanthropic efforts,” Wagner said. “She brings an infectious burst of energy to everything she does. Stacy is driven to help our Jewish community be strong and vibrant.”

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