“I understand community to be a world in which my ties to others are a series of mutual obligations and privileges that connect us now and into the future.”
– Mitch Balf, Forward
We are both fortunate and lucky to have inherited a community and traditions that link us together through a shared history, present and future.
The word community means many things. Among them, it means that we each have our roles and responsibilities to one another. It means that we have a shared definition of who belongs, and it means that we strive to meet the needs of each individual.
At the March 12 Rally for Unity on the front steps of The J, I saw a collage of communities come together. Our early learning center families, our BBYO region and members of our sister JCCs in Indiana and Ohio, the Louisville Jewish community, as well as interfaith, arts and civic leaders – a true cross-section of Louisville standing together on a cold day in March. These communities and networks of people demonstrated their unity, pride and support.
While it is unacceptable and abhorrent that anti-Semitism, bigotry and hate of any kind still permeate our world, it is the powerful, positive spirit and energy of hundreds of people coming together that I choose to embrace. We live in difficult times, but we have the ability to make the community and communities we interact with better places
I am grateful to everyone who stood together and to those who reached out to our community via email, social media or phone calls. We heard from and saw so many people, including those with whom we have lost contact with or have never met. There were people of our front lawn who have never set foot inside The J.
I also was moved to receive a call from a neighbor who shared her concern and offered to open her home if it is ever needed.
On behalf of the Jewish Community of Louisville, I am grateful for the support and wonderful messages you have all shared over the past week. Now, I need to ask you for some help:
- Take stock of the wonderful community we have inherited. Embrace our collective responsibility to care for the people who need and thrive from the good work taking place every day both at the J and in the entire Jewish community Celebrate the diversity of thought and value every individual for his/her uniqueness.
- Take pride in the cadre of devoted professionals and volunteers striving to improve people’s lives each and every day.
- Don’t assume others will donate to the federation annual campaign and everything will be taken care of. Our annual campaign has decreased over the past decade. Please don’t take your Jewish community for granted. Go to our website, (jewishlouisville.org/donate), call us 502-238-2739 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Talk to your friends and neighbors. It is my honor to ask you to share in the mitzvah of providing for our community.
- Volunteer or learn more about how you can get involved. We want to be in touch, so please email me at email@example.com and we will reach out.
(Sara Klein Wagner is President and CEO of the Jewish Community of Louisville.)