Get to Know Harriette (with a tte) Wienner


Harriette Wienner and her husband Stephen, both born and bred Baltimoreans, originally met in high school while working at local hangout Mike’s Pizza in Pikesville. Their paths crossed again after college, and together, they have raised three adult children in the heart of Jewish Baltimore – Katie, 25, Jenny, 23 and Alex, 21.

Harriette and her family are committed to caring for individuals facing challenges both here at home and in Israel. Twelve years ago, their family hosted one of the very first shinshin (Israeli emissary) who is now an integral part of their extended family. The idea of volunteering and giving back to their community continues to be a central part of their lives. Here is their story.

Is there anything you’ve done differently during the pandemic, that you plan to continue

I feel like our whole family is more in touch than usual. We were always doing a lot of family texts, but now since we’re spread out, we’re on Zoom and House Party a lot too. Every couple of weeks, one of my daughters will pick a movie and we’ll all go on House Party, start the movie at the same time, and watch it together. It’s nice to feel connected. We plan to continue to do this, which is really very sweet.

Has The Associated played a role in any of your adult friendships?

It definitely has. My best friend Dixie Leikach, who went to pharmacy school with my husband, and I, have been on a 20+ year adventure with The Associated. We’ve participated in Dor Tikvah, a two-year leadership development program, and The Jewish Women’s Giving Foundation, as well as share a love of Israel.

She’s one of those people who jumped in feet first to The Associated, while I was still dipping my toes in. Now, we’ve been to Israel five or six times together and it’s been so amazing to have my partner in crime and my best friend by my side. There really is so much to offer Jewish women through Associated Women to empower and encourage women to grow and give back to this amazing community.

Talk about your passion for Israel and your role as the current chair of the Baltimore-Ashkelon Partnership

One of the reasons Ashkelon was chosen as our partner city was because we have so much in common – we’re both port cities with a diverse population of people. Over the years we have been able to test what a true partnership between our cities means. I have amazing friends who live there. When they were going through the worst this past spring, we were all genuinely concerned and were constantly messaging one another, trying to figure out how we could help. And, when we were going through the worst of the pandemic in our country, they sent us cases and cases of masks. It’s more than a partnership. We’re friends, and we’re family.

Tell me about your experience hosting a shinshinim!

We hosted the very first shinshinim here in Baltimore.* Liron lived with our family. She was only supposed to stay for three months but ended up staying for most of the year. The bonds that she formed with our family, especially my kids, are so strong. She truly became their older sister. It’s been 12 years and we still talk all the time – and her mom is one of my dearest friends. We travelled to Israel for Liron’s wedding and then a couple of years later went back again for her brother’s wedding. And I still use Liron’s falafel recipe! It’s the best.

How have you involved your children in your giving back?

Since they were little, we involved our children in our volunteering. And now, as grown adults, they continue that tradition in their own communities. Not because it’s the right thing to do, but because they care and it’s part of who they are.

When I was growing up, my mom was involved with what I think is now called Jewish Women International. I watched her volunteer my whole life, and she was a great role model for me. . And now my children, in their respective cities, are giving back. During the pandemic, Jenny volunteered with the food bank in Boston, and Katie helped her neighbors in New York City with their grocery shopping. We’ve raised some mensches. I think the whole idea of volunteering and giving back will always be part of their lives.

* Listen to our Pull Up a Chair podcast to learn more about Harriette’s shinshinim experience. 


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