Meet Carly and Jessica

“We create a place of belonging,” says Carly Greenberg, a Community Connector through the Louise D. and Morton J. Macks Center for Jewish Education (CJE).

For young families building their Jewish future, that means learning with others at the same stage – a key goal of the CJE Connector program. With a phone call, conversation or activity, people connect to people and learn about Jewish Baltimore along the way.

Enter creative, family-friendly fun – with a dash or more of Jewish. During Family Winter Fun Days in December, Carly and Jessica Fink organized a tumble of activities: a singer, puppet show, story time and a craft. “We worked with Jewish Volunteer Connection (JVC) to teach children how to make noisemakers and then create kits for children in area hospitals,” said Carly. That teachable moment introduced the concept of tzedekah to little ones.

Jessica launched the Fantasy Football Jewish Mom League with a draft party. During the season, the lively group grew to 18 women who met weekly to cheer on the players while learning about Jewish Baltimore. While they came for football, they left with firsthand knowledge about PJ Library, CJE, Associated agencies and volunteering in the community, says Jessica.

To meet the needs of uptown and downtown families and work schedules, Jessica and Carly vary event locations and times. Mothers painted hamsahs during a Mom’s Night Out at a Mt. Washington studio. Similarly, a downtown Challah Bake sold out. “Our goal is to bring new people in, connect Jewish families and let people know what’s available at every age,” says Jessica.

Connectors benefit, too. Born just two years ago, the CJE Connector program features an 11-month course that gives would-be connectors opportunities to meet others, grow leadership skills and dive deeply into Jewish Baltimore. “Our connectors are also taking that Jewish journey and asking themselves, ‘What kind of Jewish life do I want for my family?’” says Lisa Bodziner, director, CJE educational engagement.

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