Children: Penina (8), Shiffy (7), Shira (5), Ellie (20 months)
Occupation: Associate Director, Jewish Federation of Howard County
What motivated you to start working with the Jewish Federation of Howard County?
I always knew that I wanted to have a career in the Jewish community. I have a Master’s Degree in Jewish Communal Service and Masters Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Baltimore Hebrew University and Johns Hopkins University. When a position at the Jewish Federation of Howard County opened up, I jumped at the chance to join their team. I truly believe in the work of the Jewish Federation system and am happy to be building a strong Jewish community in Howard County. I also love that my girls see that I work hard to make a difference in the community. They love attending my events, especially our annual Purim Palooza, a large carnival in the spring for 1,000+ community members.
What does a typical day look like for you?
My morning starts at 6:45 a.m. when I wake my kids up, get them dressed, serve breakfast and get the oldest three out the door by 7:25. After a crazy 40 minutes, I take the next 30 minutes to get myself and my youngest ready and out the door. My day at work consists of planning, solicitations, outreach meetings and conversations with both staff, lay leaders, constituents and community members. On any given day, I can be working on several community or fundraising events, creating new initiatives or evaluating previous programs. Several times a month, I have night meetings and events, but if I’m lucky, it’s back to home for dinner, homework and bedtime. And at 8:00 p.m. the night has just begun: cleaning up from the day, laundry, cooking dinner for the next day or planning for the weekend. Usually I make it to bed by 10:30 when my husband and I will watch a show before drifting off to sleep. I really have two full-time jobs!
You recently received the Darrell D. Friedman Institute for Professional Development’s Outstanding Jewish Communal Professional Award. What does it mean to you to receive an award like this for your service to the community?
It was such a wonderful surprise to receive this award. The Darrell D. Friedman Institute for Professional Development is a huge asset to our community, providing professional development and leadership training to Jewish communal professionals and I was so honored to receive the award. One of the reasons that this award meant so much to me is that one of my supervisees nominated me for it.
What motivates you as a professional?
We have two galas in Howard County, Jew Year’s Eve, our young adult gala, and Fed Live, the Jewish Federation of Howard County’s annual gala. It is so special to see the entire community coming together at these events. We are able to see the people we have touched throughout the year and our direct impact on the community. It is constantly inspiring to see lay leaders who have dedicated their time to help build the organization through their time, energy and financial contributions.
As the Associate Director, do you have any strategies for keeping the team at the Jewish Federation coordinated and running smoothly?
One thing that we started several years ago, is that our entire staff eats lunch together every day. This keeps us on the same page. Despite frustration and challenges during the work day, we take a break to sit down together as friends and schmooze about our lives.
What are some of the things you’ve done so far with the Jewish Federation that you’re most proud of?
One of the things I have been most proud of during my time at the Jewish Federation of Howard County is the growth of oxyGEN, our young adult division, and it’s giving level the Chai Society. From programs such as our Jew Year’s Eve gala to Brews & Schmooze Happy Hours to jLEADS, our signature leadership program, we have started to inspire, educate, connect and engage the next generation of leaders in the county.
I am also so proud of bringing the international Good Deeds Day to life in Howard County. This past year we had 400+ community members volunteering and making a
What do you like to do in your down time?
What down time? It is hard to find downtime during the week, so I try to take advantage of the weekends. I truly enjoy hosting and we host large crowds each weekend for Shabbat meals. On the weekends, we like to hang out with friends, play board games, go on family outings and tour food factories.