Awards Honor Local Jewish Professionals

When Neely Snyder tragically lost her life last summer, the Baltimore community not only lost a cherished friend but also a tireless supporter of Jewish continuity and education.

In a tribute to this committed professional, the Darrell Friedman Institute for Professional Development at the Weinberg Center (DFI) introduced the first Neely Tal Snyder Community Impact Award at its annual celebration of professionals.

Rachel Siegel, Pearlstone Center’s director of development and one of Neely’s closest friends, became the first recipient of the award. The award was created to recognize an individual who has been involved with programs that incorporate Neely’s strong Jewish values and made a significant impact on engaging Jewish community.

Neely had an ability to create experiences, often immersive and hands-on, helping build connections. She was a risk-taker, launching new programs and ideas that bent the arc of the Jewish community toward justice, integrity and authenticity.

In addition to the Neely Tal Snyder Community Impact Award, DFI presented the Outstanding Jewish Communal Professional Award and the Daniel Thursz Distinguished Jewish Communal Service Award. Chana Siff, assistant director of Israel and Overseas at The Associated, and Cindy Goldstein, executive director of DFI, were the respective honorees.

The Outstanding Jewish Communal Professional Award recognizes mid-level career professionals in Baltimore who demonstrate exceptional promise and is awarded a $1,250 grant to subsidize his/her professional development.

The Daniel Thursz Distinguished Jewish Communal Service Award honors a professional at a Jewish communal organization in greater Baltimore and who has demonstrated outstanding professional work and a lifelong commitment to the field.

The awards were presented at Creating a Connected Community: A Celebration of Professionals, a program saluting DFI’s 13th year. More than 175 professionals from The Associated, its agencies, area organizations, synagogues and day schools were in attendance, including Associated President, Marc B. Terrill, and former Associated President, Darrell Friedman, for whom DFI is named. (Check out the photos here!)

Meet the Winners

Rachel Siegal’s integrity and love reflect what is best in all of us and reminds us of why we are proud to be Jewish. As director of development for the Pearlstone Center, Rachel is an inspiration to all those who have worked with her – leading with integrity, compassion, dedication and creativity.

Rachel, together with Neely, built the Pearlstone Family Camp program one relationship at a time. Family Camp, more than any other program, reflects Pearlstone’s mission of engaging and inspiring young families to live more authentic, loving, Jewish lives – a true reflection of the souls and the friendship of both Rachel and Neely.


Chana Siff exhibits a commitment to Jewish communal service through her dedication and passion, exhibited by her consistent demonstration to go “above and beyond.” It is not uncommon for Chana’s colleagues and leadership alike to receive thoughtful emails from Chana at midnight, a testament to her enthusiasm. Chana started her career at the Baltimore Jewish Council (BJC) and joined The Associated in July to take on the role of assistant director of Israel and Overseas.

A true community collaborator, Chana worked on staffing the Baltimore Israel Coalition from its inception. She regularly collaborated with professionals across The Associated system, synagogues, local pro-Israel organizations, government professionals and beyond. She convened and cultivated lay leadership in her role with the Coalition, which today is made up of 24 local organizations.

She has continued to connect people to Israel in her new role, managing the Baltimore-Ashkelon and Baltimore-Odessa Partnerships. Chana has expanded her practice, making connections with lay and professional partners in Baltimore, Ashkelon and Odessa, ably facilitating The Associated’s allocations process overseas and impacting thousands of people in Israel and Ukraine.

Cindy Goldstein deeply appreciates the value of recognizing, supporting, training, inspiring and cultivating stellar professionals. In her role as executive director of DFI, she knows that the success of the Jewish community relies on the talents, knowledge and expertise of the professionals who work closely in partnership with lay leadership. She thrives on building relationships, and is committed to reaching beyond The Associated’s agencies to form more broad-based partnerships that will help strengthen the community as a whole.

Cindy has worked closely with JPRO Network, our national affiliate, and has served on the Baltimore Jewish Leaders Assembly Taskforce, the Community’s Welcoming Initiative, the Israel65 committee and the Baltimore Israel Coalition. She volunteers for UMD Hillel, Hadassah and Beth Israel Congregation.

Cindy cares deeply about the vibrancy and strength of the Baltimore Jewish community as well as the national and international Jewish community, turning to her partners around the globe to help shape the content and agenda for substantive professional development in Baltimore.

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