Mission Statement:Jewish Community of Louisville (JCL) serves as the collective body to preserve and enrich Jewish life and values in Louisville, Kentucky, and to identify a connection to the State of Israel, by providing the services and resources that meet the educational, recreational, social and cultural needs of the individual and affected organizations.History:During the 1800s, Jews settled throughout Kentucky and the South. By 1860, there were fewer than 15,000 Jews in the region, yet they contributed substantially to its expansion as merchants, traders, storekeepers, artisans, sawmill operators, butchers and farmers. As the city of Louisville grew, the Jewish community grew in direct proportion.Louisvilles original Jewish inhabitants were of German origin, mostly itinerant peddlers who later settled down and became founders of great business establishments. Just before the Civil War, they were joined by an influx of Eastern Europeans who formed a Polish religious congregation.The Eastern European migration began in the early 1880s and brought a shtetl-like (religious village) atmosphere to Preston Street, where Yiddish was more commonly used than English. Soon certain health care, financial assistance, religious worship and educational needs began to emerge. A Community Center Association was established in the latter part of the 19th century and first decade of the 20th century to provide for the day to day needs of the Jewish community.During the 1920s and early 1930s, Germans who feared the Nazi regime fled the country and came to America. Some settled in Louisville and swelled the local Jewish population to over 8,000. A number of concentration camp survivors came to Louisville after 1948 and since 1973, many Russian refugees have settled in the community. They now account for more than 10 percent of the local Jewish population. Today, the Jewish Community of Louisville offers a full range of religious, philanthropic and cultural activities for its members.