Meet Bob Manekin

Bob Manekin and family

Baltimore native Bob Manekin grew up on Shelburne Road in a household with a strong connection to Jewish values and Jewish life. His grandfather, who passed away before he was born, was a long-time treasurer of Chizuk Amuno Congregation. At an early age, he watched both parents give back to their community – his mom was involved with the Sinai Women’s Auxiliary and Chizuk Amuno Sisterhood; his dad served as President of the JCC and many other leadership roles with The Associated. 

These were the values that shaped him. And as he built a successful career in real estate, he also became a key figure in the Jewish philanthropic community, giving generously of his time and funds. Now, to cap off his leadership efforts, he is heading up the Task Force for the redevelopment of The Associated’s Park Heights Campus, which will be renamed the Goldsmith Campus. And it is in this role that he is creating something special for the community. 

Here are 10 things to know about Bob. 

He served in the Navy. 

While in college at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Bob enrolled in ROTC and was commissioned an ensign in the US Naval Reserve upon graduation in 1970. After completing studies and a JD degree at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, he spent three years as a Navy JAG lieutenant at Pearl Harbor as part of his ROTC commitment. During his time there, he also served as part of a joint pilot program between the Department of Defense and Department of Justice as a Special al Assistant U.S. Attorney, where he litigated several high-profile cases. 

His first check to The Associated was mailed from Hawaii. 

“I sent my first check – $250 – from Hawaii in 1974, he recalls. That was just the beginning of a long and storied commitment to the organization. When he returned to Baltimore, he actively became involved, serving as a member of The Associated’s Young Men’s Leadership Council, which he would go on to chair.  

“For me, The Associated is the glue that keeps everything together,” he likes to say. “In my perspective it is the central mailing address for the Baltimore Jewish community. Even though a lot of what The Associated does isn’t visible, it touches almost every aspect of the Jewish community, no matter whether you are Orthodox or Reform or secular.” 

A conversation with the late Shoshana Cardin was instrumental in his Associated journey. 

Bob had just won The Associated’s Harry Greenstein Award, recognizing a young man or woman who demonstrated leadership to The Associated, its Annual Campaign and the community. After the Board meeting, he stopped and had a conversation with Shoshana Cardin, who asked about his next move. “I told her I was going on the Board of the JCC. She looked around, leaned in and responded with a conspiratorial voice and said ‘that was a good idea. See how the agencies work. That is where what we do at The Associated really happens,’ she said.” 

In the past year, he received the Carole Sibel Outstanding Fundraising Achievement Award from The Associated and the first Bezalel Leadership Award from the JCC. 

Bob Manekin receiving the Harry Greenstein award

“I like to think The Associated and the JCC do a very good job of thanking and recognizing individuals for their work. As a result, I never felt the need to be singled out for recognition.”  

However, having said that, it meant a lot to receive the [Carole Sibel] award named in honor of someone I knew well and greatly admired. As for the Bezalel Leadership Award [which recognizes the capital projects he worked on over the past 30 years), it is overwhelming to receive this honor for something I love doing. 

His current role will help transform the Park Heights Campus. 

As head of the Task Force for the redevelopment of the Park Heights Campus, to be renamed the Goldsmith Campus, Bob has jumped into this role, merging his real estate expertise with his passion for building something lasting for the Jewish community. For him, the renovation of 5700 Park Heights, since 1960 home to the JCC is a chance to create a place where all of Baltimore’s Jews can recreate, learn, and participate in the work of the Associated.  

He’s excited about the breadth of the project which will include a new state-of-the-art health and wellness facility, The Associated headquarters offices, an incredible Jewish library space, and the very popular J-Town, a place where young Jewish mothers and their children can gather and play.  

His wife, Vivian, was the one who “popped the question.” They’ve been married for more than 50 years. 

Bob Manekin with wife Vivian

Bob met his wife, the former Vivian Dixon, at UNC, Chapel Hill. “Vivian was raised as an Episcopalian, and she told me I was the first Jewish person she met,’ he recalls.  Becoming intrigued with Judaism, she decided to attend classes at a local temple to learn more. Later she moved to Israel and lived on an Ulpan. And it was there that she decided to convert. 

“I remember she called and asked me to marry her. That was June of ‘72.” In April of ‘73, they tied the knot. After now, more than 50 years, five children, four children-in-law and seven grandchildren later, they are still going strong. 

Words to Live By… 

Two sayings stick in Bob’s mind, when asked about the best advice he ever got. “My father once said, ‘no one ever gave a bad short speech.’  And a former business coach once told him, “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” 

If he wasn’t in real estate, he would have been …. 

“It seems intuitive that I would be a lawyer since I graduated from law school. But if you want to know the truth, I love teaching. In fact, I’m nicknamed the “professor.”  

To that end, he helped launched Jones Lang LaSalle’s (JLL) Broker Know How! Program and JLLU. Earning his nickname “The Professor,” he’s conducted nearly 200 trainings for more than 6,300 colleagues on topics ranging from real estate transactions to business development. He also served as an Adjunct Faculty member at the Johns Hopkins Carey School of Business, teaching marketing of commercial real estate.  

A history geek, he enjoys reading nonfiction.  

Some of his recent favorites are: Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America’s Most Powerful and Private Dynasty by Daniel Schulman; The Money Kings: The Epics Story of the Jewish Immigrants Who Transformed Wall Street and Shaped Modern America by Daniel Schulman; A Fever in the Heartland: The Ku Klux Klan’s Plot to Take Over America, and the Woman Who Stopped Them by Timothy Egan and The Ins-N-Outs of In-N-Out Burger by Lynsi Snyder. 

Final Words 

For Bob, there’s no greater joy than blending his professional expertise with his passion for philanthropy. As a dedicated volunteer leader, he’s rolled up his sleeves for countless “brick and mortar” endeavors, each leaving an indelible mark on the Baltimore community. 

Among the projects close to his heart is his involvement with Sinai’s ER, which handled 61,000 cases last year and the Gordon Center, which he worked on with Joe Meyerhoff. Last year it served 52,000 patrons. 

“I get a lot of naches (happiness) knowing that these projects have impacted as many people as they have. 

Subscribe to our newsletter

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.

Join Our Mailing List

Add Impact to Your Inbox

Sign up for our newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter

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.

Join Our Mailing List