Young Leadership Awards Go to Julie Ellis and Jeff Tuvlin

[by Shiela Steinman Wallace]

During this year of transition as the Jewish Community of Louisville(JCL) takes shape, many people have stepped forward to participate in the process. They have devoted many hours to ensuring that all voices in the community are heard and that the process moves forward to build the best possible future for the Louisville Jewish community.

Of all the leaders who made positive contributions this year, two young adults have distinguished themselves through their service. The JCL will honor Dr. Julie Temes Ellis with the Joseph J. Kaplan Young Leadership Award and Dr. Jeffrey Tuvlin with the Lewis W. Cole Memorial Young Leadership Award. The awards will enable Ellis and Tuvlin to attend next fall’s Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly.


Dr. Julie Temes Ellis

Ellis came to Louisville with her parents, Dr. Jerry and Maura Temes, when she was just five. “I did a lot of my growing up at the Jewish Community Center” and Keneseth Israel, where she was involved with NCSY, the synagogue’s youth group, she said. She also spent summers for more than 10 years at Camp Livingston, where “I made all kinds of great friends” and “loved every minute of it.”

After graduating from Atherton High School, Ellis earned her undergraduate degree from Syracuse University. There she was an active member of Alpha Epsilon Phi sorority. She also participated in some Democratic political activities on campus and was a member of Hillel.
For medical school, Ellis returned to Louisville and attended the University of Louisville, “where I met my now husband,” she said.

The couple moved to Birmingham, AL, for a few years to complete their medical residencies, but Louisville is home, and they returned to raise their family here. Today she has a private practice in internal medicine and is part of a physicians group at Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s HealthCare.

Family and friends were important reasons for the Ellis’ return to the community. She still connects with the friends she made at camp. “My son goes to Livingston now,” she said, “and his friends are the children of my friends. That’s why we came back here. It was a place we knew and were comfortable with where we knew our children would flourish.”

Since returning to Louisville, Ellis has been an active community volunteer. She served for six years as a vice president of the Jewish Community Center, and when the community seriously began to consider merging the JCC and the Jewish Community Federation, Ellis stepped forward and co-chaired the Yachad Kadima – Together Forward Committee, which did the groundwork that led to the formation of the Jewish Community of Louisville.

Since the establishment of the JCL, Ellis has been a Board member, and last year, she helped write the organization’s mission statement.

Ellis had also been active with the Federation before the merger. She volunteered for the Annual Campaign, worked on Super Sunday and was a member of the Community Relations Council.
In addition, Ellis is on the Board of Planned Parenthood and the Physicians Council for the Jewish Physicians Group. She is a member of National Council of Jewish Women and the family belongs to The Temple.

Ellis’s husband, Les, is a neonatologist. They have two sons, Zach, 10, and Josh, almost 8.
In receiving the Kaplan Award, Ellis continues a family tradition. “My Mom and Dad both won this award,” she said. “I can remember when my Mom won it. It was the biggest deal. My grandparents came down from New York, where they were big volunteers in their community for Israel Bonds and Zionist groups. … So when they gave the same award to me, it was a continuance of that feeling.”

“It’s nice to be recognized for something I feel so passionate about – something I really enjoy doing,” Ellis added. “I don’t think about volunteering in the Jewish community as a chore. It’s my obligation. In a city like Louisville, we have to work at being Jewish, at teaching our children about what it means to be Jewish and taking care of each other. … My parents did it for me, now I do it for my children – not just to provide for them, but to enable them to thrive.


Dr. Jeffrey Tuvlin


Tuvlin arrived in Louisville in 2004, and has been active in the community ever since. “Louisville is a very welcoming place to move to and to become established and involved,” he said.
Tuvlin participated in the Young Leadership Development program, was a volunteer with the JCL’s Young Adult Division, chaired the Ben Gurion Society for two years and co-chaired YAD for the 2008 Annual Campaign. He served an internship on the Jewish Community Federation’s Board of Directors, and following the merger of the Federation and the Jewish Community Center, became a member of the JCL Board.

He has also served as a co-chair of the Program Review Committee and now is a member of JCL’s Strategic Directions Committee.

Tuvlin finds his volunteer work very rewarding, and particularly enjoys working in the Jewish community with his family and friends, and seeing “my kids actively participate in and enjoy Jewish life in Louisville, from Jewish Family & Career Services volunteer events to programs such as JCL’s The P.J. Library.”

A highlight of his own activities was presenting “the fresh and exciting work of the 30 plus volunteers of the Program Review Committee” with co-chairs Sheila Berman and Karen Abrams at the Major Gifts Dinner.

He was also inspired by Bill Yarmuth, who “not only increased his gift to the Campaign, but made a challenge grant to the young adults. With staff and Jennifer [Tuvlin] and Mike [Salamon] as chairs of YAD, we raised that money. … This is a community working together and a community with a bright future.”

A gastroenterologist who specializes in the treatment of Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, Tuvlin earned his B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis, MO; and earned his M.D. from Emory School of Medicine in Atlanta. He did his internal medicine residency program at the University of Chicago, and served as chief resident in internal medicine. He stayed on to serve as a fellow in the section of gastroenterology with a focus on inflammatory bowel diseases.

In Louisville, he is a founder of the Center for Gastroinestinal Health, a division of The Physician Group at Jewish Hospital and St. Mary’s HealthCare and served as an advisory dean for medical students and an assistant clinical professor for the University of Louisville. He also chaired the Endoscopy Committee for Jewish Hospital. He has published numerous professional papers and is a frequent public speaker.

In 2009, he was also named one of Louisville’s “Top Docs” by Louisville Magazine.

Receiving the Cole Award is particularly meaningful for Tuvlin because his wife, Jennifer, “won the award last year, and the work she has done for the YAD over the last two years has taken participation and engagement of the young adult community to a new and exciting level.”
It is also meaningful to him because it is for young leadership, and a major goal of his work in the Jewish community has been to “help in developing our future young leaders.”

“Much of what we have accomplished this year,” he explained, “has been to enhance middle school and teen programming to keep these kids involved and help them develop a strong sense of their Judaism” so they will be the leaders of tomorrow.

He is excited by what he sees happening at the Jewish Community of Louisville. “Many people have stepped up and volunteered countless hours to make sure we weathered this transition time,” Tuvlin said. “Now we have a merged organization, progress is being made toward hiring a new CEO. We have a new CFO and a new CRC Director, and within the last few months, new ways of programming, allocating funds and fundraising to keep things working for OUR Jewish Community of Louisville. There is something going on in every aspect of Jewish life to enhance experiences and increase relevance and engagement.”

The Tuvlins have three sons, Andrew, 10; Ethan, 7; and Jared, 4. They are members of Congregation Adath Jeshurun.

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