Todd Blue will chair the Jewish Community of Louisville’s 2010 Annual Campaign, and when he talks about the task ahead, he is passionate about the community, the critical importance of the Campaign and the future, and is eager to get things started.
The dynamic, young CEO of Cobalt Ventures believes the Jewish Community of Louisville (JCL), the new “joint entity” created last May by the fusion of the Jewish Community Federation and the Jewish Community Center, “is the future of our community.”
The time has passed, he explained when each individual, agency, synagogue, temple and organization can operate as a silo – with separate agendas. “We’re all one Jewish community,” he stated, “and we have to have the faith that we can operate together. Our community is too small, and things are too delicate, to have agendas that are not for the oneness which will be necessary to create the vibrant community for which everyone is clearly desirous.”
Over the holidays, Blue pointed out, The Temple’s Rabbi Joe Rooks Rapport “gave a very inspirational sermon about all of us working together.” Blue recalled Rabbi Rapport spoke of “the poor economy of the 1870’s. … At that time, the community struggled to overcome issues which were seemingly insurmountable, yet, here we sit, 139 years later, and we are still a Jewish community desirous of a future.”
Our community has also risen to the challenge of helping Jews-at-risk around the world. When the former Soviet Union collapsed, we participated in Operation Exodus, bringing Jews to freedom in Israel and the United States, helping resettle them in their new homes and providing assistance to those who stayed behind.
When crisis threatened the Ethiopian Jewish community, Israel airlifted the majority of the community to safety in just hours; and we were there, providing the financial support necessary not only to relocate them, but assisting in the multi-year absorption process needed to help them adapt from their primitive African villages to modern, high-tech Israeli society.
“The urgency and the seriousness that we came together on with those two efforts is no different than the situation we face today,” Blue stated, “except that this time, it is our own community. I know people care but I am challenging everyone to care with their giving and their time. If we want a Jewish community, here in Louisville, we must demonstrate, through our faith AND our action, that we care about the challenges we face.”
“We’re working on a lot of things with respect to the Jewish Community of Louisville,” he explained. “We’re rethinking the way things have been done and addressing the issues brought to light in the Horizon Research study. Already, we’re building a more streamlined organization and a Board of Directors that is ready to react quicker and in a more organized fashion.” The demand for more and different programming, also brought out in the Horizon study, is being addressed, too.
There are opportunities ahead of us if we are willing to grasp them. ”We need to establish higher expectations for what we consider to be an acceptable Annual Campaign … if we are desirous of having a vibrant Jewish community,” he said. “We don’t have a choice. We have to increase our giving to sustain ourselves, and I believe $3 million is a totally attainable goal. I’m excited to get the community used to that level of giving and above on a going forward basis.”
“We need the whole community to partner in this effort,” he continued, “and to demonstrate their desire for this type of community by increasing their giving.”