Jewish Federation of the Bluegrass, Inc. (JFB) is one of 157 Jewish Federations and over 300 network communities across the continent—Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA)—which raise and distribute more than $3 billion annually for social welfare, social services and educational needs. The Federation movement, collectively among the top 10 charities on the continent, protects and enhances the well-being of Jews worldwide through the values of tikkun olam (repairing the world), tzedakah (charity and social justice) and Torah (Jewish learning).
Locally JFB works to support and enhance life for the Jewish population of Lexington and the surrounding area. Throughout the year JFB sponsors and facilitates celebrations, commemorations, educational opportunities, cultural events, and social activities which enhance Jewish life. JFB also extends support to the broader community by co-sponsoring arts and culture events, and community and university programs, which focus on Jewish history, as well as programs which work to combat anti-Semitism and discrimination wherever they may occur.
As a small staff and dedicated volunteer corps, Jewish Federation strives to do more with less. Despite the continued economic downturn and increased need for financial assistance, the JFB staff and its volunteers have established new programs and giving opportunities: the Global Day of Jewish Learning launched locally in November 2011, in only the second year of the program internationally; PJ Library, which provides free Jewish books and CDs for young children, is growing; our Women’s Division found new life in an annual social fundraiser dinner; and a strong relationship was forged with the Blue Grass Community Foundation to establish new endowment opportunities for our donors. JFB is also excited to continue its relationship with the Girl Scouts Wilderness Council and use of their Camp Shawano site for our youth summer day camp, Camp Shalom.
To be a Jew today means to be part of a continuum stretching back to Abraham and Sarah and stretching forth to countless generations of their descendants. It means living the lessons taught by grandparents and parents and transmitting those living lessons to our children and grandchildren, thereby ensuring the continuum carries on into the future. Those lessons include ethical principles such as service to others, tzedakah (charity), education, and social justice. They also include the support and involvement in the Jewish community and its institutions to achieve these goals. We have been instructed by our tradition in how to treat our families, our neighbors, our employees, strangers, animals, and the environment. We have shown the world how a barren desert can become green, and how refugees from all over the world can become an educated, productive people. From the smallest European villages to the largest American cities, in Israel and around the world, tikkun olam (repairing the world) is our calling and our greatest achievement. The Federation is our connection through which you, too, can be part of this calling.
We, as a community, have a responsibility to ensure that Jewish communal life – and all that is inherent in it – grows and continues through the generations. Judaism has endured throughout the centuries because of the strength of communal bond and common belief. No matter where we travel in the world, there is a familiarity and comfort level in contacting the local Jewish community. There is a sense of common purpose and goal: that the Jewish community is a worldwide one, based on the same principles and on caring for one another and the larger community around us.
How do we accomplish this connectivity and continuity? We teach by example. We have to show the generations following us - our children and grandchildren - that joyfully and thoughtfully embracing Jewish life is part of the fiber of our being and is something to celebrate every day throughout our lives. That being Jewish is not only a religious belief, but a moral, caring, historical, and communal bond.
Through the efforts of the Federation, our whole community is enhanced, both Jews and non-Jews, not just for now but for the future - when today's adults become senior citizens, when today's youth will have children of their own and convey the same sense of community to them. This is how we ensure the future, by doing ourselves and by making the decisions that will continue to connect the future with the past, in tradition and caring, for each other and the broader community.
The reach of JFB’s services are loosely defined by "Central Kentucky” encompassing all of the Bluegrass and as far as Lawrenceburg and Bardstown in the west, Corbin in the south, Ashland in the east, and Cynthiana in the north. Our service area primarily includes, but is not limited to, these boundaries.
Mimi joined our team in the Fall of 2012.
Talia was rehired in June of 2014
Rabbi David Wortman graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a BA degree. He subsequently received degrees or Certificates from: the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion (BHL, MAHL, Ordination, DD), Yale University (MA, MPhil); La Salle University (Cert. in Non-Profit Management); University of Delaware (Cert. Web Master); Council for Relationships (candidate for Cert. in Marriage and Family Therapy).
Wortman has served as a rabbi, as well as: Executive Director of the Board of Rabbis/Jewish Chaplaincy Service of Greater Philadelphia; Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Philadelphia; Adjunct Professor in the religion departments of – Albertus Magnus College, Yale University, St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Seminary and St. Joseph’s University. He has also taught Bible at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and Gratz College. While at St. Joseph’s, he taught an annual course in the Theology Dept. entitled, “Jewish and Christian Responses to the Holocaust.”
Wortman has delivered papers and lectures and is widely published in both academic and Jewish contexts.
He is married to Judy Wortman, Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of the Bluegrass. He and Judy have 4 children and 5 grandchildren. He moved to Lexington in August 2009.
Social Services thru JFB are primarily run by our Jewish Family Services (JFS) social worker and supporting volunteers. Direct services include, but are not limited to: need-based emergency financial aid; visitation, information and referral services for the sick and home-bound; youth scholarships for regional and local Jewish summer camps, as well as Israel peer-group educational travel and study-abroad programs; Jewish Family Life Education programs; monthly Arts and Adventures programs for the active elderly. All information and referral services, financial aid, and other individual services through our social worker are completely confidential.
• PJ Library - Mails free, high-quality Jewish children's literature and music to families across the continent on a monthly basis. It is a Jewish family engagement program implemented on a local level throughout North America. pjlibrary.org
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
Copyright © 2014 Blue Grass Community Foundation
499 East High Street, Lexington, KY 40507