A Precious Resource

resource library

By Melissa Cordish
As Jews, we understand that the concept of a covenant is central to our tradition. From Abraham and Sarah to our collective experience at Sinai, the theme of Brit appears over and over again. Striving to understand what is expected of us and working to fulfill these expectations is part of the essence of being a Jew. This concept is also key to the relationship between volunteers and the organizations for which they serve; A clear mutual understanding is critical the achievement of a meaningful volunteer experience. Members of boards or committees accept responsibility for their work and, in return, expect a level of respect and enrichment from their experience.

To facilitate this mutually beneficial relationship, The Associated’s Center for Community Engagement and Leadership (CCEL) has developed a Brit Avodah, a covenant of service, between board members and the organizations they serve. CCEL works both within The Associated system and in the general Jewish community to ensure that those who generously give their time and talent come away from the experience feeling good about the work they have done and also enriched by their interaction with the organization.

This is no small feat. To achieve this goal, CCEL has developed the tools organizations need to keep volunteers engaged in their board or committee experience and works with organizations to help them put these best practices into action. A robust resource library covering everything from writing a D’var Torah to ice breakers for meetings to Jewish values is featured on the Associated’s website and is available to the community.

CCEL professionals and ambassadors also work directly with volunteers in The Associated system to ensure that their communal role is well-suited to their wants and needs. By meeting individually with each person and exploring his or her strengths and areas of interest, CCEL is able to match volunteers to the right leadership opportunity. Some people pursue involvement which utilizes their particular talents; others may choose an area of need which resonates with them. No matter what they seek, CCEL can help connect an interested volunteer with the right opportunity.

CCEL’s commitment to this mission reflects important elements in Jewish communal life in Baltimore – the effective use of the time and talent of our volunteers and the cultivation of a cadre of active leaders for tomorrow. These dedicated volunteers are an incredible asset to our community. The decisions made by these boards and committees have the potential to impact countless lives. And the stronger and better trained that cohort of leaders is, the stronger our community will be.

Baltimore is unique among Jewish communities. Many struggle to engage leaders and lack a plan for succession among their boards. The Associated has been training future generations for many years and benefits from a robust cadre of volunteers who are poised and prepared to lead our community for years to come. Every committee or board member working in our community has the ability to lead from any chair. These leaders move our communal agenda forward and take care of our community. Thanks to them and their willingness to learn and grow in their roles, our community truly is in good hands.

Melissa Cordish is chair of The Associated’s Center for Community Engagement and Leadership.

Leave a comment

Filed under Leadership Development, Professionals, Volunteering & Advocacy

A Picture of Maryland/Israel Trade


By Barry Bogage

There has been a flurry of comings and goings between Maryland and Israeli businesses recently. Next Tuesday, November 18, the Maryland/Israel Development Center (MIDC) is hosting its fourth annual Showcase of Maryland/Israel Business. The Showcase, taking place at the Silver Spring Civic Center, 6:00 – 8:30 p.m., provides an opportunity for the over 20 Israeli companies that have offices in Maryland to show their products and technologies to the Maryland business and Jewish communities. Jeremy Bash, former Chief of Staff at both the Department of Defense and the CIA will give the keynote.

Two weeks ago the MIDC hosted a delegation of Israeli cyber security companies for the CyberMaryland conference — Safe-T, RadiFlow, NextNine and Portnox – as well as Israel’s leading cyber security venture capital investor, Yoav Tzruya of Jerusalem Venture Partners. Yoav gave an amazing talk about Israel’s emergence as a cyber-security leader, using the country as a case study Maryland can emulate. He described Israel’s confluence of market need and customer base, innovators, investors and supportive government policy, such as incubators, that provide over a half million dollars in startup capital to entrepreneurs.

This week the MIDC’s Director of Business Development, Peter Telem, is participating in the Israel Homeland Security 2014 Conference to meet companies with the potential to do business in Maryland. Accompanying him is Nate Lesser, Deputy Director of the U.S. National Cyber Security Center of Excellence (NCCOE), a program of the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg. NCCOE brings together consortia of entrepreneurs, corporations and government agency to address emerging cyber security threats. Israeli innovations can solve many of these problems. RadiFlow (mentioned above) is participating in an NCCOE “use case” project.

The MIDC is partnering with the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMMS) to recruit and host a delegation of Israeli companies to participate in the mHealth Summit the week of December 8 at National Harbor, the new Gaylord development across the Potomac River from Washington, DC. mHealth is the new word for mobile medical devices and smart phone applications, “apps,” that provide mobile healthcare, medical treatments and monitoring.

In business, you know you’re doing a good job when you have repeat customers. Telesofia Medical of Tel Aviv is returning again this year. Founded by a team of medical doctors and Internet industry veterans, Telesofia is answering the challenge of healthcare literacy and patient engagement by making medical information and instructions clear with interactive, personalized patient education videos. For example, the platform describes the proper use of medication, post-surgical procedures, discharge instructions and more. The fully branded videos are sent to patients via text or email or embedded in patient portals and apps.

There will be more exchanges during the first half of 2015. The MIDC is recruiting a delegation of Maryland companies to attend the Israel CyberTech Conference in March and Mixiii, a biomed and IT innovation conference, in May. We’ll host another delegation for an Israel Institute of Security Studies cyber security policy conference to be held at George Washington University in Washington, DC, in April. For information on any of these activities, please see marylandisrael.org.

Leave a comment

Filed under Israel & Overseas, Professionals, Young Adults

5 Things To Do This Week in Baltimore

Check out these great events for the whole family sponsored by The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore or Associated agencies.

Saturday, November 15
Pre-show: 7:00 p.m.; Performance: 8:00 p.m.
Hot Rize – America’s Bluegrass Band Rides Again
Gordon Center for Performing Arts

Grammy-nominated bluegrass band Hot Rize comes to the Gordon to debut their first album in 24 years. Enjoy their unique contemporary approach to traditional bluegrass music. Event is co-presented with Charm City Folk and Bluegrass Festival. Pre-show features live music with Letitia VanSant and beer tastings with Baltimore’s own Union Craft BrewingTickets are $35 in advance and $39 at the door. Learn more.

Sunday, November 16
11:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
JCC’s Annual College Fair
Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC

High school students and parents can meet with representatives from more than 40 colleges and universities nationwide. Attend free workshops to learn about the admission process, hear about financing a college education, discover Israeli programs after high school and understand how to choose the right college to meet your needs. Go to College Center to learn more.

Sunday, November 16
1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Family Farm Days
Pearlstone Center
pearlstone nov

Join us for our monthly Family Farm Days, where you will explore a different Jewish environmental theme. This month, help make the farm ready for winter, learn how to identify and plant trees, discover native plants, visit the animals in the pasture and explore the farm’s bounty! Program is $15 per family. Learn more.

Sunday, November 16
3:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble
Gordon Center for Performing Arts
feets dance

INCREDIBLE FEETS entertains with a music and dance performance that celebrates percussive dances from around the world. Enjoy percussive dance and music from Ireland, England, South Africa, Canada and the American South. Show includes audience participation and lots of foot-tapping fun. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Program is sponsored by BGE with support from the Maryland State Arts Council. Learn more.

Tuesday, November 18
6:30 p.m.
Meet Your Elected Officials
The Associated Krieger Building

Join the Baltimore Jewish Council for a special session to meet and greet local legislators. Learn about their priorities in the upcoming year. Learn more


Leave a comment

Filed under Families, Teens, Volunteering & Advocacy, Women, Young Adults

Igniting My Passion for “Something Good”

karen singer

By Karen Singer

Anticipating turning 50 and dropping my youngest at college, all in the same week, got my head swirling about 16 months in advance of the actual reality. All I could think about was this–what was this almost 49-year-old woman to do?

I did what I know how to do best—I talked about my mixed emotions with friends and decided that I needed some help to plan the next phase of my life. A close friend reminded me not to ask, “How am I going to achieve this challenge?” rather “who can help me achieve this challenge?”

Those who know me might share that I am passionate about most everything; I truly utter “awesome” and “fantastic” about most everything. I share life with a loving husband, and we are so proud of our two children. I have a rewarding professional career and have always coupled my professional commitments with civic involvement, serving on a variety of wonderful Boards and typically, focusing on their fundraising efforts. However, it still seemed time for a change.

Through my networking, it became obvious that I was not alone in this challenge. To answer “who can help?,” I learned that The Associated developed “Chapter Two,” a nine-month program intended to help women ignite their next passion (whether due to becoming empty-nesters, retiring or just wanting to make a change). In September 2013, a year before my anticipated milestone events, I attended my first Chapter Two meeting. While the 24 women’s backgrounds varied, we shared a common goal:  a desire to ignite our next passion.

Then, in the blustery cold of February 2014, I found my next passion. With fellow Chapter Two participant, Susan Manekin, we organized a “Princess Party” in collaboration with Giving Hearts, a teen program coordinated through the Jewish Community Center and Jewish Volunteer Connection (JVC), the hands-on volunteer branch of The Associated. The “princesses” were invited from the Jewish Caring Network and The Rubin Institute for Advanced Orthopedics at Sinai Hospital.

On the surface, the party resulted in painted faces, cereal necklaces, lots of frilly pink dresses and hugs for all.  Yet, beneath the surface, there was some magic –- one grandmother battling a terminal disease thanked us effusively as the party enabled her to create lasting happy memories with her granddaughter. We would not have known of her dire circumstances from the smiles on their faces.  As I reflected on how much pleasure I had planning the event with the teens and rolling around on the floor playing with the limb-lengthening patient and her siblings, I knew that I could fill my anticipated void with more hands-on volunteer activities.

In a blink of an eye, I graduated from Chapter Two and was honored to join the Board of JVC, whose mission is to foster a culture of service and engage volunteers to meet vital community needs. What a great next step in my journey!  I was then invited to co-chair JVC’s Adult Volunteer Engagement Committee with Susan Manekin, with the goal of creating easy, accessible and recurring volunteer opportunities for adults, whether for two hours per month or twice a week.

As my personal journey was taking shape, my anticipated milestone birthday and college-drop off were also approaching quickly.  As someone who loves to plan a good party, I needed to listen to the voices in my head which were telling me to continue the passion that had been ignited. During a JVC planning meeting, I mentioned to Erica Bloom, assistant director at JVC, that I could use her help to plan a hands-on volunteer birthday party to celebrate with my friends. An hour later, as I hurried out of our meeting to get to work, Erica asked me what activities I like doing most, as my passion would be contagious.

My 40 minute drive to work was all it took to conceive of “Something Good” – a weekend hands-on volunteer initiative was born. I love combining friends from different aspects of my life; l love organizing details; I love learning about organizations which could use a little extra help. PLUS, my schedule had some weekend openings!

I called Erica to share my idea and she translated my energy into JVC parlance. By launching “Something Good,” I was creating a “Volun-team,” a group of committed individuals to do “something good” on a monthly basis. I would be the leader, with the participants becoming the team!

My milestone birthday arrived, college drop-off came and my focus on launching “Something Good” filled that special spot. In September, nearly 40 friends gathered at a Girl Scouts’ camp in Howard County to mulch, remove debris from a building to be demolished and weed an area for native plants species. On October 16, “Something Good” participants gathered for “Blankets and Bagels” at my home to create 28 polar fleece blankets to comfort the patients of Kennedy Krieger Institute.

Upcoming “Something Good” activities include preparing food and serving the homeless, making a community mosaic and assisting the elderly in getting their homes ready for the spring!  JVC is my “go to” resource for additional volunteer ideas, and I thank them for supporting “Something Good.”

When you find yourself on a similar journey, remember to ask “who can help?” and know that a simple call to JVC can match you with an opportunity to enrich your life while enriching the lives of others. If you would like to join the “Something Good” Volun-team, please email me at ksinger.somethinggood@gmail.com.


Leave a comment

Filed under Volunteering & Advocacy, Women

5 Things To Do This Week in Baltimore

Check out these great events for the whole family sponsored by The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore or Associated agencies.

Sunday, November 9
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Lloyd Street Synagogue 50th Anniversary
Jewish Museum of Maryland

lloyd street 2
Celebrate the rededication of the Lloyd Street Synagogue with several special programs. Take the synagogue’s newest tour, “Technology in the Temple,” which delves into how technological revelations in the 19th century led to the development of this historic landmark. The Baltimore Museum of Industries will also present “Mendes’ Baltimore: The Industries that Build a City,” which explores the importance of technology in the development of Baltimore.

Because the anniversary coincides with Kristallnacht, Martin Levin Artistic Creations will showcase his Kristallnacht series of miniature synagogue facades, including the Lloyd Street Synagogue and B’nai Israel. Programs free with museum admission. Learn more.

Tuesday, November 11
6:30 p.m.
Open Mic Nights
Gordon Center for Performing Arts
open mic

Local musicians are invited to showcase their talents at the Gordon Center’s Open Mic night. Bring your family and friends to cheer you on. Many evenings also feature special appearances by professional singers and musicians. Sign up is at 6:30 p.m.; show begins at 7:00 p.m. Refreshments are available. Learn more.

Tuesday, November 11
7:00 p.m.
Israel, the 114th Congress and the Obama Administration: Looking Ahead
Chizuk Amuno Congregation
Will there be changes in Israel policy now that a new Congress has been elected?  Join Art Abramson, Ph.D., executive director of the Baltimore Jewish Council (BJC), as he  takes a look ahead on the situation in Israel. This is the final program in Baltimore Israel Coalition’s Israel series. Go to baltimoreisraelcoalition.org/israelseries to learn more.

Wednesday, November 12
10:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.
Talk Camp, Drink Coffee & S’more
Dunkin Donuts in Owings Mills Boulevard Shopping Center
camp 2

Looking for the perfect camp experience for your child? Janna Zuckerman, program manager of The Associated’s Center for Jewish Camping, has the inside scoop on Jewish day and overnight camp programs around the country. Join this expert over donuts and coffee to help you navigate programs, budget, locations and schedules for your child. Service is free and is designed for second graders to high school seniors. Learn more at associated.org/talkcamp.

Thursday, November 13
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
JCC Camp Open House and Registration Night
Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC
Future and returning camp families are invited to join us for an evening of camp festivities, including Gaga, music, sports, arts and crafts AND the JCC’s newest group fitness program for children, “Born to Move.TM” Don’t miss this great opportunity to meet our camp directors and learn about the many camp offerings, and don’t forget to wear your JCC camp t-shirt!
Sign up the same night and reap the rewards, including a raffle for free week of camp. Call Stacy at 410.559.3513 or visit our website  to learn more.

Leave a comment

Filed under Camping, Families, Israel & Overseas, Women, Young Adults

Who Inspires Your Teen?


By Sara Feldman
JOIN for Teen Supervisor
Jewish Community Services

Last year I heard Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman speak in Baltimore at the Friends of the IDF fundraiser. I was inspired by her dedication to gymnastics, as well as her unapologetic attitude about her Jewish heritage, which attracted worldwide attention at the 2012 Summer Olympics.  During the program, an officer from the IDF made a surprise appearance to read the letter he had written to Aly about how she had inspired him and other Israeli soldiers.

Listening to Aly and the soldier’s story started me thinking about role models. Since I work with teens at the Mitchell David Teen Center, I decided to talk to several teens to find out what inspires them.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that they are inspired by everything around them! One girl admires Ellen Degeneres “because she is an amazing human being who always puts a smile on people’s faces.” Ellen inspires her to give to charity and emphasizes that we should always “be kind to one another.”

Teens are also inspired by historical Jewish figures. For example, one chose Hannah Szenes, the Hungarian Jewish heroine, who is famous for her poem “Elie, Elie” (“My G-d, my G-d”) and many other writings. She joined the Haganah, and volunteered for a daring mission parachuting near the Hungarian border to rescue Jews about to be deported to Auschwitz. She was captured and executed for acting on her beliefs.

The teen admired Szenes because “she fought for a country she considered her homeland and gave up her personal dream in the process, giving up her life to her country. She understood the power of a collective dream.” Hannah Szenes inspired her to grow as a leader and fight for her own beliefs.

I quickly learned that you don’t need to be famous to be a role model. One teen told me that his uncle is his role model “because he came from humble beginnings and worked his way through school.” His uncle taught him to stay humble and always work hard at your job.

Other teens were inspired by their peers’ success, caring hearts, and determination. One said that her peers “advocate making the world a much better and a more peaceful place” and push her to be the best version of herself. Another was inspired to follow in the footsteps of some older girls to take on a leadership role within BBYO.

Parents have an opportunity to contribute to this process.  A good conversation opener is to talk to your teen about who inspires you. Then ask your child if there is anyone now that he or she thinks of as a role model. Your child’s answers give you insight into his or her values and goals. This is also an opportunity for you to tell your child what special qualities he or she has that you admire.

With a little guidance your teen can be a role model for others. Teens are very impressionable.  It’s important for parents to encourage them to be kind to others and serve as role models for younger kids.

Encourage them to take on leadership roles in club at school or in their youth group or at their job. Teens can start out small by helping a teacher, or taking on a smaller position within a club and then working their way up. You don’t need to be the president of a club to make a difference.

Teens need to feel empowered to stand up for what they believe.  hey will inspire others by blazing their own trails and striving to be the best they can be. As Aly Raisman said, “I push myself and do the best that I can to finish and just have a good feeling at the end of the day.”

Learn about JOIN for Teens.

What else are teens talking about. Read about their thoughts on social media.


Leave a comment

Filed under Teens, Women

5 Things To Do This Week in Baltimore

Check out these great events for the whole family sponsored by The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore or Associated agencies.

Sunday, November 2
3:00 p.m.
8th Annual CineFest: Harbour of Hope
Gordon Center for Performing Arts

Join us for the Maryland premier of this heartbreaking but life-affirming documentary about the unbelievable life stories of three Holocaust survivors. Harbour of Hope tells the story of Irene, Ewa and Joe, who were among the nearly 30,000 survivors that were rescued from German concentration camps and sent to the peaceful harbor town of Malmö, Sweden.
Tickets are $12 in advance, $14 at the door, $5 student rush ticket. For information, go to jcc.org/gordon-center/2014-films/.

Tuesday, November 4
11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
School’s Out: Make Your Voice Count
Jewish Museum of Maryland

School’s out for Election Day so bring your children to a special program filled with interactive tours and hands-on activities to inspire a deeper understanding of citizenship. Visitors will enjoy a scavenger hunt in the Museum’s permanent exhibit, “Voices of Lombard Street,” meet Ida Rehr, a Ukrainian immigrant to Baltimore in the early 20th century, through the Leo V. Berger Immigrant’s Trunk Living History Performance (11:00 a.m.) and enjoy story time with PJ Library.For more information, go to jewishmuseummd.org/single/schools-out-make-your-voice-count/.

Wednesday, November 5
8:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Support Group for Parents of Children with Attention Issues
CHAI Conference Room
SHEMESH has partnered with CHADD of Greater Baltimore to present “ADHD and its Impact on the WHOLE Family.” The free program will feature Dr. Jean Hinlicky, a child psychiatrist in private practice who also consults for the Kennedy-Krieger Institute. She will talk about new ideas and approaches for how the family can best navigate this challenging issue. To register, call Gila Haor at ghaor@shemeshbaltimore.org or call 410-843-7588.

Thursday, November 6
10:00 a.m. or 7:00 p.m.
Talk Camp, Drink Coffee & S’more
Dunkin Donuts in Owings Mills Boulevard Shopping Center
camp 2

Second graders to high school seniors – there’s a camp experience for your child. Stop by the Dunkin Donuts in Owings Mills and sit down with Janna Zuckerman of The Center for Jewish Camping for a chance to learn about Jewish camp programs around the country and discuss what options best fit your family’s needs. For information, go to associated.org/talkcamp.

Thursday, November 6
Pre-Reception, 5:30 p.m.; Program, 6:30 p.m.
One Sole Can Make A Difference
Temple Oheb Shalom

Jane Weitzman

Jane Weitzman, former executive vice president of Stuart Weitzman, founding vice president of Stuart Weitzman Retail and author of Art and Sole, will speak about her book, community and philanthropy. Weitzman spearheaded philanthropy for the company by generating funds to support breast and ovarian cancer research and awareness. Cost is $30 per person for program, $50 per person for pre-reception, program and book. For information, go to associated.org/womenfallevent.


Leave a comment

Filed under Camping, Families, Special Needs, Women, Young Adults