How We Were Formed
It all started about 125 years ago. It was 1892 when a small group of ardent champions of Torah-true Judaism met in a dimly-lit upstairs meeting hall located in downtown Louisville at 7th and Market Streets to hold a High Holiday Service. What was lacking in physical décor was readily overshadowed by the ebullient spirit manifested by those enthusiastic participants. In June of 1893 a committee of six met with the Clerk of the County Court of Jefferson County of the State of Kentucky to draw up the Articles of Incorporation. Receiving the Clerk’s approval, each member of the committee affixed his signature on the aforesaid document and thus Congregation Anshei Sfard was launched.
Our First Building
With time, the membership grew and soon it became evident that larger quarters were needed to house the congregation. Finding that the building housing the old B’rith Sholem Temple at 511 South First Street was up for sale, the Board of Directors voted to purchase the building. After many repairs and added improvements, the building became the home of Congregation Anshei Sfard, and services were conducted every day and on Shabbat and Yom Tov. In time, a downstairs ladies section and a large upstairs social hall were added, and in 1928 the new addition was formally dedicated. Soon a Sisterhood, a Men’s Club and a Sunday School were organized. Classes in Jewish studies were introduced to serve both younger and older members of the congregation.
An Unexpected Challenge
In early 1950, the Officers and Board of Directors received a letter from the City Planning Commission stating that the proposed North-South Expressway would mean that a section of the synagogue building would be needed and the congregation should plan to relocate. Though somewhat discouraged, we did not despair. We actually gained new strength by uniting together and planning a new fund-raising drive so that we could purchase a new location for our educational center and chapel that could accommodate our rapidly growing 150 member congregation. In 1955 our building-fund drive enabled the congregation to secure a seventeen and one-half acre parcel of land adjoining the Jewish Community Center.
A Whole New Beginning
Soon after purchasing land, the Congregation sold several acres to the Jewish Community Center since it needed additional playing fields. In return, the Jewish Community Center provided us with some funds with which we could begin building our new synagogue. The Jewish Community Center also allowed us to conduct High Holiday Services in its spacious auditorium. The Officers and Board of Directors proceeded to launch a capital fund-raising drive. The plans ambitiously called for the construction of a new building, a sanctuary, a social hall, a library, a Rabbi’s study, a business office, a meat and dairy kitchen, a bride’s room, a lobby and a connecting hallway to the Education Center. We carefully selected architects and began a new chapter in our history. A grand groundbreaking ceremony was held in April 1957.
Through the years, we have continued to improve and update our facility. Today, we use our very beautiful and spacious building as the center of our many religious and social activities. We are proud that while the local Jewish community has undergone major religious and cultural changes throughout the past several decades, Congregation Anshei Sfard has remained a beacon of orthodoxy in this community and this state.
Rabbi Simcha Snaid, his wife Hindy and daughters, Ilana and Rachel moved to Louisville in 2016 on his appointment as Rabbi of Congregation Anshei Sfard. Rabbi Snaid grew up in Savannah, Ga. where he experienced firsthand the impact a superb congregational Rabbi can have on a community and a city. This experience was a force behind Rabbi Snaid’s desire to be a channel for Torah advancement and education on a communal level. Growing up in Savannah, GA was the ideal setting for Rabbi Snaid to impact on a diverse community such as Louisville KY. Regardless of observance level, knowledge, age or affiliation, Rabbi Snaid’s prime goal is to pass on the depth and beauty of our religion in his approachable, non-judgmental, sincere and friendly manner. He values and welcomes diversity at all levels without this being an impediment to communal unity.
Rabbi Snaid culminated 11 years of post-high school Judaic studies by receiving his rabbinic ordination from the respected Rabbinical Seminary of America / Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim. His semicha (ordination) is at the Yoreh Yoreh Yadin Yadin level.
Rabbi Snaid also has a Masters in Educational Administration from Bellevue University.
He also is a graduate of the Twerski Coaching and Counseling Institute where he completed an intense marriage and family counseling course.
In 2016, Rabbi Snaid attended an in depth Kashrus program under the auspices of the Star-K.
Rabbi Snaid has quickly introduced an enthusiasm and great interest in the community with his various classes and discussion groups that he has. His weekly Facebook 2 minute Parsha talk has gained a large following and has become a leading discussion topic at many Friday night tables.