You’re Invited to Hear Mitch Albom

Mitch Albom, the author of Tuesdays with Morrie and award-winning sports journalist, is coming to two Federation Campaign events on December 1, and you’re invited.


Major Gifts Event

A traditional part of the annual Federation Campaign, the Major Gifts event is where those donors who support the Campaign with individual gifts of at least  $5,000  or  couples  gifts  of  at least $7,500 are honored and thanked. Ben Gurion Society members – young adults,  45  and  under,  who  make  an annual commitment of at least $1,000 to the Campaign – are honored guests. The donors’ adult children are also welcome.

The Jewish Community of Louisville has planned this special Federation Campaign event to continue this tradition. It is the major donors who sustain  this  community and  support  Jewish rescue, relief and resettlement efforts in Israel  and  around the world, and this event is in their honor.

The Major Gifts event will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Henry Clay, 604 S. Third St. Major donors will enjoy cocktails and heavy hors d’oeuvres. A Vaad approved option is available upon advance request. In addition, each family will receive a copy of Albom’s book, Have a Little Faith. Albom will be there to personalize and sign each book.

The evening will also include a special Campaign presentation, recognizing the contributions of those present.

To ensure that the dollars raised for the Federation Campaign go to the programs and services donors want to support and not to cover fundraising expenses, the JCL is asking for at least $36 per person to defray the cost of the event. The fair market value of the event is $50 and is not tax deductible.

This year’s event also has a second part, a community-wide Campaign Event. By pairing the two events together, Campaign leaders are calling on the major donors to attend the second event and be role models for the rest of the community, encouraging more people to do what they can for the Federation Campaign.

Campaign Event

While the major donors provide the largest portion of the funding for the Louisville Jewish community and JCL’s international partners, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), they can’t do it alone. It takes the help and support of every member of the community for the Campaign to raise enough for Louisville’s Jewish community to achieve its dreams and fulfill its obligations at home and abroad.

Mitch Albom will be the featured speaker at the Campaign Event, which will begin at 7 p.m. in another room at the Henry Clay. To attend this fundraising event, the minimum individual contribution is $360 and the minimum couples gift is $500. For first-time donors to the Federation Campaign, the minimum gift is $180. The donors’ adult children are also welcome.

Those in attendance will have the opportunity to learn more about the community, the importance of the Campaign and how they can become involved in the community. They will also be able make their commitments to the 2012 Federation Campaign at that time.

Every donor is important and every individual can make a difference by supporting the Campaign and volunteering.

Coffee and desserts will be served. A Vaad approved option is available upon advance request. To ensure that the dollars raised for the Federation Campaign go to the programs and services donors want to support and not to cover fundraising expenses, the JCL is asking for at least $18 per person to defray the cost of the event. The fair market value of the event is $22 and is not tax deductible.

“Mitch Albom is a truly remarkable individual who has set the bar for living Jewishly and generously very high,” said event co-chair Mark Perelmuter. “His commitment to tikkun olam – paying the medical bills of his former teacher; providing for the needy in Detroit and Haiti; creating easy opportunities for others to join him in his work – is making the world a better place. Please join Marci and me on December 1 to learn lessons for our own community from this incredible role model and to hear his most compelling story. We couldn’t be more excited about seeing Mitch and drawing inspiration from his stories.”

Mark and Marci Perelmuter are the chairs of both Major Gifts and the Campaign Event. Ralph Green is the 2012 Federation Campaign chair; Joe Hertzman is the King David Society chair; Kate Latts is the Women’s Philanthropy chair; David and Elizabeth Kaplan are the Ben Gurion Society chairs and Ariel Kronenberg is the YAD chair.

If you are interested in attending either event, please reserve your place by calling Mary Jean Timmel, 238-2739, by Monday, November 21.

Why the Federation Campaign

The Federation Campaign is the financial engine that drives the Louisville Jewish Community, and your support for the Campaign determines how much the community can accomplish. In 2011, the Annual Campaign raised $2.3 million.

When families need help, they know they can count on agencies and programs supported by the Campaign because of your generosity. For individual and family counseling, help with job search skills, and assistance in identifying and accessing needed resources, Jewish Family & Career Services is able to offer services on a sliding scale, allowing people to pay what they can afford, thanks to the Federation Campaign.

Scholarships for summer camp, Israel trips and Hebrew School are funded by the Campaign. Both communal and home delivered hot kosher lunches for seniors are subsidized by the Federation Campaign. College students have a home away from home at Hillel, where they can celebrate Jewish holidays and socialize with other Jewish students, thanks to the Campaign. And a wide variety of educational opportunities for students of every age and stream of Judaism are available in Louisville because of the Campaign.

The Campaign also provides for those in need in Israel and around the world. Thanks to the Campaign, school dropouts from dysfunctional families get a second chance and disabled children receive services they need beyond what the Israeli government can provide. The Campaign also ensures that refugees who make aliyah have a place to call home where they can learn Hebrew and transition into productive members of Israeli society; and the impoverished frail elderly can live out their lives with dignity and in security.

Around the world, wherever a Jewish community needs assistance – teachers, supplies like matzah and prayer books, food and shelter – the Jewish community is there to help, and the Federation Campaign makes a difference.

About Mitch Albom

Mitch Albom is an internationally renowned and best-selling author, journalist, screenwriter, playwright, radio and television broadcaster and pianist, songwriter and lyricist. His books have sold more than 28 million copies worldwide. They have been published in 41 territories; been translated into 42 languages around the world; and have been made into Emmy Award-winning and critically-acclaimed television movies.

Albom earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Brandeis University. He is also an accomplished musician, and, for several years, worked as a performer in both Europe and America and wrote and produced recordings of several songs.

In his early 20’s, while living in New York, he turned his interests to journalism. After volunteering for a local weekly paper, he returned to school, earning a Master’s degree from Columbia University’s School of Journalism and an MBA from Columbia University’s School of Business.

Albom has been a freelance sports journalist for publications such as Sports Illustrated, GEO, and The Philadelphia Inquirer, and held staff positions as a feature writer and sports columnist for a pair of newspapers in Florida. After moving to Detroit in 1985, he became a nationally-acclaimed sports journalist at the Detroit Free Press and one of the best-known media figures in that city’s history.

Today, he hosts a daily talk show on WJR radio and appears regularly on ESPN Sports Reporters and SportsCenter.

In 1995, he married Janine Sabino. That same year he re-encountered Morrie Schwartz, a former college professor who was dying of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. His visits with Schwartz led Albom to the book Tuesdays with Morrie, a chronicle of the time Albom spent with his beloved professor. As a labor of love, Albom wrote the book to help pay Morrie’s medical bills. It spent four years on the New York Times Bestseller list and is now the most successful memoir ever published.

Albom’s first novel, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, is the most successful U.S. hardcover first adult novel ever. For One More Day debuted at No.1 on the New York Times Bestseller List and stayed there for nine months. It was also the first book chosen by Starbucks for its Book Break Program, which also raised money to help fight illiteracy. His most recent, Have a Little Faith, was released in September 2009 and selected by as the best nonfiction book that year.

All three of Albom’s best sellers have been turned into successful TV movies.

Albom has founded five charities, many in the metropolitan Detroit area: The Dream Fund, A Time To Help, and S.A.Y Detroit, an umbrella organization for charities dedicated to improving the lives of the neediest, including the S.A.Y. Detroit Family Health Clinic. A Hole in the Roof Foundation helps faith groups of every denomination that care for the homeless repair the spaces in which they carry out their work.

The Have Faith Haiti is a special place of love and caring, dedicated to the safety, education, health and spiritual development of Haiti’s impoverished children and orphans. The Mission was founded in the 1980’s by Detroit Pastor John Hearn Sr. as The Caring and Sharing Mission. Since then, it has raised and cared for hundreds of children, some of whom now work there, caring for the next generation.

Following the devastating earthquake of January, 2010, the mission fell upon hard times, and later that year, operations were taken over by Albom and his A Hole in the Roof Foundation. The name changed to Have Faith Haiti Mission, inspired partly by Albom’s book, Have a Little Faith.

In addition, Albom devotes an area of his website,, to hosting  a directory of local and national service opportunities. He also raises money for literacy projects through a variety of means, including his performances with The Rock Bottom Remainders, a band made up of writers, includingπ Stephen King, Dave Barry, Scott Turow, Amy Tan and Ridley Pearson.

Albom serves on the boards of various charities and, in 1999, was named National Hospice Organization’s Man of the Year. In 2010, Albom received the Red Smith Award for lifetime achievement by the Associated Press Sports Editors.

Editor’s note: Mitch Albom’s biographical information was edited from information available on his web site,

[by Shiela Steinman Wallace]

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