She views it as a natural outgrowth of her current responsibilities. “It’s engagement similar to PJ Library and Shalom Baby,” she said, but for a different group of people in the community.”
A number of years ago, Louisville used to have a program to welcome newcomers that brought people together for a big brunch and introduced them to the community and to some people. This time, Tuvlin is taking a different approach.
She began by researching what other communities are doing before deciding on the best way for Louisville to move forward.
First, Tuvlin is redefining who is a newcomer. “A newcomer can be someone who is Jewish who just moved to Louisville, or someone who has been in Louisville but has not practiced Judaism. Or, a newcomer can be someone who is Jewish but has just now taken an interest in the Jewish Community. The definition of a newcomer is really very open,” she said. “We just want to be welcoming to all.”
Once a newcomer has been identified, Tuvlin plans to meet with that person individually, identify their needs and interests and connect them with people with the same needs and interests. For example, if the Jewish newcomer has children who will attend the public schools, Tuvlin will try to connect that person with another family with Jewish children around the same age who attend the public schools.
It’s not about pushing newcomers toward activities or synagogue memberships, but rather about providing information and making connections that will enable them “to become part of our quilt or patchwork” that is the fabric of our community.
If you know of a newcomer, you can help them learn more about Louisville’s Jewish community by referring them to Jennifer Tuvlin, 502-238-2719 or firstname.lastname@example.org.