by Shiela Steinman Wallace
Shmully Litvin loves Louisville.
He grew up here and attended Eliahu Academy until the sixth grade. Although he left the city to continue his education in Jewish schools elsewhere, as an adult, he chose to return and make Louisville his home.
The city has much to offer. “Besides being a diehard Cardinals fan,” he said, “the city has everything a big city has with a small city atmosphere. Everything is nearby. There are wonderful parks, kosher food, good bars, sports and theater. It’s a very nice place with an air of fraternity on Shabbos that can’t be found in a lot of big cities.”
Another big attraction for Litvin is the Jewish Community of Louisville and all the activities it offers. “I participate with YAD [the Jewish Federation of Louisville’s Young Adult Division] and attend their events, which I enjoy greatly,” he noted. “I’ve been to some of the Happy Hour events and some of the social events at people’s houses.”
He also enjoys the sports offered by the Jewish Community Center, particularly the regular basketball games and the synagogue softball league – he plays on the combined Anshei Sfard/Temple Shalom team. “I meet a lot of great people that way,” he said.
“The real connection,” Litvin continued, “is the JCL’s efforts in building and strengthening our community. Louisville has a small, yet diverse Jewish community, and the JCL strives to include everyone, giving us a sense of oneness.”
Litvin attended Yeshiva College in London for two years, which he described as “the most fabulous experience in my life.” He found that people there had strong Jewish identities whether or not they knew much about Judaism.
He also attended the Rabbinical College of America in Morristown, NJ, for two years, during which he directed and led Chabad community outreach activities. “We would have students meet weekly with businesses and families around the area to bring a little bit of Shabbos cheer, lay tefillin or give out Shabbos candles,” he explained. He also organized Chanukah and Purim parties and other activities.
Litvin then spent a year working at Yale University in Jewish outreach. He organized events designed to expose students to Judaism who had never encountered it before, sometimes providing Friday night meals. “We would have debates on all kinds of topics,” he said, “and bring professors to talk about Israel.” He always included people who strongly identified with G-d and Judaism.
After working in a photography business in New York for five years, Litvin decided it was time to return to Louisville; and he opened a home computer business, Litvin Consulting.
The business, he said, “is founded on a combination of two loves: helping people and computers. So many people have little questions and get very expensive answers from the big businesses. My idea is to help people learn enough so they don’t need me.” He offers computer help for individuals and for businesses, online marketing that is “affordable, friendly and Jewish.”
In addition to his activities with the JCL, Litvin volunteers with Congregation Anshei Sfard and is a leader of its Men’s Club. He often leads services on Friday night or Shabbos day and, together with his wife, Duby, organizes social programs. “My wife and I are always looking to expand our group of friends here in Louisville,” he said.
He also helps out in Chabad, serves on the Louisville Jewish Day School Board, and promotes Jewish education as much as he can.