Deadline March 15th! After a one-year hiatus, the Jewish Community of Louisville’s popular Kesher Kentucky program returns to the Louisville Jewish community. This year long Jewish educational institute is devoted to leadership development and provides the opportunity to explore contemporary issues of Jewish life today locally, nationally and internationally with communal professionals and community leaders.
The program concludes with an exciting year-end visit to Israel.
New for this year is that Kesher is now open for all high school sophomores and juniors. This change was made to increase the pool of prospective applicants as well as create a more interactive environment between the teens. Because of this change, the Kesher program will only happen every other year.
The Kesher program is limited to 25 students to help create a warm and welcoming environment that allows participants to strengthen their Jewish identity and personal leadership skills. Kesher Kentucky chairperson is Julie Ensign; Justin Sadle will staff the project.
“This year’s schedule of events, which runs from March through December, should fulfill any teen’s desire to explore and grow Jewishly,” said Ensign. “We are very excited to get the program started and share our plans for the next three months.”
On Sunday, March 28, the group will travel to Bloomington, IN, for a visit with students involved in Indiana University’s Hillel program. During their stay, they will have the unique opportunity to learn about Jewish life on a college campus from young adults to whom they can relate.
Two other programs are scheduled this spring. Students will hear from Marlene Gordon, executive director of The Louisville Coalition for the Homeless, and attorney and community activist Amy Benovitz. They will perform a community service project and have dinner together.
The other program will have a political focus with teens having the chance to hear from Mayor Jerry Abramson and other local Jewish government leaders.
Three meetings will be scheduled in the fall and the Kesher year will culminate with the Israel trip in December. Ensign pointed out that after this year, the yearlong sessions will begin in January and end in December.
Ensign has been interested in the Kesher program because she wanted her daughter, Sarah, to have the chance to be a part of it. “Kesher is too important to Louisville’s Jewish community,” she said, “we just can’t let it go.” The JCL has been busy getting applications and information ready to send to prospective members, and it will be distributed over the next week or so. You can download the required Statement of Understanding to fill out here.
Justin Sadle is the Jewish Community Center’s Teen/Assistant Camp Director and Regional Director of the Kentucky-Indiana-Ohio BBYO. He participated in Kesher Kentucky in 2000-2001 and feels the program offers “a really good opportunity to introduce our future leaders to our Jewish community and strengthen their ties to it. We also hope,” he said, “their participation will motivate them to want to return to Louisville in the future.”
Kesher Kentucky was begun in 1994 and was the idea of then Jewish Community Federation President and current JCL Chair Edward B. Weinberg.
If you would like further information about the Kesher program, please call Justin Sadle at 238-2711.
[by Phyllis Shaikun]