Meet Baltimore’s National Young Leadership Cabinet

The Jewish Federations of North America’s leadership development program, National Young Leadership Cabinet, educates the next generation of global Jewish leaders and philanthropists from across the United States. 

The Baltimore Jewish community has always been an incredibly engaged one, and so, it comes as no surprise, that there are six incredible individuals who are participating. 

The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore recently spoke with some of these rising, young professionals to learn more about their experience and commitment to making the world a better place. 

Zack Garber

How has the pandemic changed what’s important to you? 

The pandemic has shown everyone the fragility of life and the importance of health. We have to remember to be thankful every day for our health and the health of our friends and family around us. The pandemic has also shown the importance of connectivity and the role that having internet access plays in our lives. I run a podcast on my free time, Charm City Dreamers, and have dedicated my recent episodes to focus on race equity and digital access, as these two issues have become extremely apparent in the recent pandemic. 

How has your involvement with The Associated influenced what you are passionate about? 

The Associated has provided me with opportunity and access to all different aspects of charitable work. I am currently the Social Chair for National Cabinet, a community which includes hundreds of young leaders from different communities across North America. The level of talent, engagement and breadth of work of my young professional peers in the JFNA continues to inspire me to reach higher in my charitable efforts. I also serve on the Baltimore City Partnerships Commission of the Associated and continue to care deeply about the impact that the Associated and the Jewish community can play in the city of Baltimore. I believe that in times of great turmoil, it is our responsibility as the Jewish community to provide help to our community and to those around us. Lastly, I continue to believe that The Associated’s focus on developing its pipeline of the next generation of Jewish leadership is truly invaluable.  

Brian Gaister 

Why Cabinet?  

During the six years that I have participated in Cabinet, I have met exceptional people, with shared values that are passionately making a real impact in their respective communities both here and abroad. I’ve developed what I hope will be life-long relationships with like-minded peers from all over North America. Baltimore is such an amazing Jewish community. I’ve seen how much the work that The Associated and the Federation system does in making a real difference in the lives of others. My participation in Cabinet has pushed me to realize that we all have the capacity to do even more than we fully understand. I’ve truly learned that the more you give, the more you get.    

What have been some of the highlights?  

I would have to say that the biggest highlight is the fact that I met my finance, Jewel, through Cabinet. She’s from Austin, Texas. We were on a bus trip together on our Cabinet retreat – and we were on our way to put together kits for battered women in Scottsdale as a community service project. We talked, we hit it off, and I invited her to a ski trip that I put together informally for other Cabinet members over President’s weekend. We are getting married in March.  

I would add that I’ve had the opportunity to visit and learn about Jewish communities all over the world. Before COVID-19, I traveled with other Cabinet members to Casablanca and Rabat, Morocco, Tbilisi, Georgia, Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia, and Madrid, Spain. I’ll never forget the special connection in visiting the ORT School in Madrid, joining the 450 Jewish students for an afternoon of singing and dancing on Shabbat. 

Hirsh Ament  

What is the importance of being a leader?  

When I think about leadership, I’m reminded of the saying, “managers move armies from place to place, leaders take armies where they never thought possible.” Leadership gives an individual the opportunity to inspire others, to communicate a vision of what is possible and motivate others to achieve a goal. With those as guiding principles, I think the importance of being a leader is clear: it enables me to effect change beyond what I could accomplish alone. Being a leader allows others to prosper and grow, and to continue to make a positive impact on their immediate community and beyond. 

Isaac Pretter

How does your involvement with The Associated influence what you are passionate about?  

Being part of The Associated Board of Governors and Associated Jewish Charities’ board has allowed me to see firsthand how proactive and thoughtful our Federation is in handling the numerous challenges resulting from the pandemic. It is critical, now more than ever, that we have a central planning system for our Jewish community (unlike most Federations that compete with Jewish agencies in their communities). 

How has the pandemic changed what’s important to you? 

I realize that I don’t need to be out most nights and that it’s more important to be home with my family. Material things are less important and health and wellness are a bigger priority. The pandemic has enabled me to pause and reflect more on life and how to maximize my time here. 


Julian Hammond

What have been some of the highlights of cabinet? 

I’ve had the opportunity to connect with other young leaders across North America, participating in programs like the National Leadership Conference, where I connected with peers from different backgrounds and experiences. It gave us an opportunity to build bridges across communities and provided insights into what it means to be a leader. And, ultimately, it led me to the Chairman’s Mission, where I was fortunate to travel to Israel with the Baltimore community last year. 

What does it mean to be a leader? 

It enhanced my understanding of responsibility and action. A leader must be a person of words and action. Cabinet enhanced my understanding of these key concepts of leadership. 

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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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