Meet Morry Zolet

For as long as he could remember, being Jewish was a central part of Morry Zolet’s life.

As a young boy growing up in Randallstown, he recalls how everything from holiday traditions to his parents’ commitment to the Beth Israel sisterhood and brotherhood would play an important role in defining who he was.

Although they did not have a lot to give financially, his parents always emphasized tzedakah and standing up for what was right. That’s why, as a young professional, when he first learned about The Associated, he became committed to giving back.

“I remember Jimmy Berg approached me,” says Morry. “I had never really heard of The Associated before then. Not only did he tell me about what they did, but he reminded me that the success of the Jewish community doesn’t work on autopilot. If the Jews don’t support one another, no one else will.”

From the very first mini-mission with Marc B. Terrill, in which he took with his wife, Lisa, Morry saw the impact of the organization’s work on the Baltimore community. From meeting a former addict living in a recovery house and an older woman living in Weinberg House – both funded by The Associated’s Annual Campaign – Morry saw how the organization, thanks to the support of the community, could change lives.

That was the beginning of his more than two decades volunteering with The Associated, serving on everything from the Investment Committee to becoming Marketing Chair. And this year, he took on the role of Co-Chair of the Baltimore-Ashkelon Partnership.

“I had never been to Ashkelon,” recalls Morry. “Yet my middle daughter, Lindsay, was in Diller and we hosted a wonderful teen – my ‘adopted daughter’ – from Ashkelon that year.”

This year, as co-chair, Morry and Lisa joined other Baltimoreans on the Baltimore-Ashkelon Partnership mission. And, they arrived a mere four days after missiles fired from Gaza struck the city and killed a 58-year-old man. Despite the crisis, and shortly after checking out a bomb shelter, Morry was incredibly impressed by the energy, resilience and optimism of the place.

“I would hear people say, ‘If I have to go to the shelter only five percent of the time, that’s OK, because 95 percent of the time, Ashkelon is the greatest place to live in the world.’”

“I would hear people say, ‘If I have to go to the shelter only five percent of the time, that’s OK, because 95 percent of the time, Ashkelon is the greatest place to live in the world.’”

Throughout the trip, the group had a chance to visit projects that were currently funded by the Partnership or projects considered being funded next year.

youth and visited a classroom to watch Shevet Achim in action. Shevet Achim is a twinning program between Ashkelon and Baltimore Jewish schools that foster connections between students of both communities. It is funded by the Partnership.

“Seeing where our money went and knowing we had a say in how we would spend The Associated’s dollars, made us take our responsibility very seriously.”

As for the trip, Morry was impressed with the city – noting quite a few similarities to Baltimore, from a beautiful harbor marina to having a lot to offer that outsiders don’t always realize – and even more so with the people. “They are upbeat, they are resilient, and they are enjoying life.”

And, on a personal level, the trip to Israel and Ashkelon made Morry realize how much he loved the country, and it inspired him to take a future family trip there.

It’s been 10 years since I had been to Israel before this trip,” he said. “I’m not going to wait 10 years to go back.”

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