Get to Know Jason A. Blavatt, Development Chair, The Associated

For Jason A. Blavatt, the new development chair of The Associated, doing good has never been about the accolades. Not one who wants to be in the spotlight, this Baltimore native and long-time supporter of the Jewish community, does what he does because he believes in building a strong Jewish Baltimore that will be here for future generations. 

An attorney, family man and volunteer, Jason talked to us about his priorities for this year, growing up in Baltimore and what matters most to him. 

What are your goals as Development Chair? 

For much of my volunteer work at The Associated, I worked on the planning side. I served in a number of roles within the Community Planning and Allocation (CP&A) arm of The Associated. Those experiences provided me with a unique perspective into understanding the needs of our community. 

This knowledge is why I would like to enhance the existing relationship between the planning team and the development professionals, so that we are working hand-in-hand to effectively raise funds to address the current community challenges. I also believe that there is a large cadre of devoted lay leaders, who currently work on the planning side, that could be amazing advocates in light of their vast experience. 

You grew up in Owings Mills in a time when there were few Jews living there. What was that like? 

I remember when I attended Owings Mills Junior-Senior High School (grades 7-12 at the time), there was a small number of Jewish students.  As a whole, it was an eclectic community that was very diverse. There were students from different countries and varying socio-economic levels. I was fortunate to interact with diverse people and make friends. It was a really great experience and helped me better understand the world in which we live. 

How did you meet your wife? 

I met my wife, Amy, at Gettysburg College.  We got to know each other, while enjoying all the typical college life experiences.  I was one year ahead in school, so we were fortunate to be able to spend three years on campus together before I went off to law school and eventually got married and settled down in Owings Mills. 

Amy is similarly engaged in the community and believes in giving back. The organizations that she has held leadership roles include Chizuk Amuno Congregation, Levindale Auxillary and The Associated.

You say family is the most important thing to you. 

It is the most important thing to me. Everything I do is for my family. Just seeing a smile on their faces makes me happy. My immediate family is very close to my brother’s family and we are active with them, as well as with my Dad. My Dad is an inspiration to me personally and professionally. No one does it better. It has been over a decade since my Mom passed away, and although she was the keeper of our family traditions, and the moral and social glue of our family, my Dad has been remarkable in continuing the values that my parents instilled in us. 

Do you get a chance to work with your brother, Jeffrey, now that he’s at The Associated? What’s that like? 

I have had the benefit and fun of working with my brother quite a bit over the years. The law practice has been my base, while he has explored other opportunities to help various communities, all while still being an active part of the firm. In his new role, as has always been his practice, he is fully vested in the work of The Associated, so that his time in the firm is significantly reduced. That said, I now can work with him and benefit from his amazing energy to be a component of the bridging of planning and development realms. His past success in development work is truly inspiring. 

How has Judaism played a role in your life? 

Growing up, my family was (and remain) members of Chizuk Amuno Congregation and that is where I attended religious school. Judaism was important to my parents, and we would be together for Shabbat and holidays – often at my grandmother’s house.

Yet, as a teen and in college, Judaism wasn’t always front and center. I think that provided some perspective for me – not everyone is in the same place at the same time, although they may still care about supporting this Jewish community. We need to find ways to connect to all individuals, whether it is someone who is at a different stage with their Jewish identity or a different point in their life. For example, a 50-year-old may be an empty nester or have a toddler. A key factor in being successful in my role is to meet people along the continuum of their Jewish journey and find their optimal connecting point. 

You and Amy have shared your values with your children. 

It’s really important to us that our children, Jared and Rachel, understand their heritage and appreciate their roots in the Baltimore Jewish community and the community at large. Both our children attended religious school and celebrated their B’nei Mitzvot at Chizuk Amuno Congregation.

Through the years, we’ve continued to carry on many of our family traditions, especially around the holidays. Even during the pandemic, when we all couldn’t be physically together, we utilized Zoom to bring us together for the holidays.  

I look forward to the day when our children will be standing under the chuppah and starting their own families with the opportunity to pass on our traditions and values. 

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The Associated is a home for everyone in the Baltimore Jewish community. We offer several email lists to help people find a community, engage with their peers and support Jewish journeys around the world.

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