Meet Pam Platt

For Pam Platt, there is one thread that has consistently run through her life, and that is her Judaism. It sits at the core of her upbringing – it’s how she indirectly met her husband – and it is driving her commitment to the volunteer role she is taking on today.

From her earliest days growing up as the daughter of Holocaust survivors, Pam knew how important Judaism was to her family. Her mother, who grew up Orthodox and her father who was from a Reform back round, instilled in her a Jewish foundation in their “Conservadox” home.  Going to shul every Shabbat, keeping Kosher and attending Hebrew school at Beth Israel Congregation, helped her to understand the importance of her Judaism. 

At the same time, Pam says, “I grew up in a very diverse neighborhood, often celebrating Jewish and Christian holidays with our neighbors. My mother was not afraid of us learning about different religions. Her message was clear, that if we felt confident in our religion, there was no reason for us not to share in the joy of other religious celebrations.”

Pam met her husband, Jeffrey, at a square dance at Chizuk Amuno Congregation. Sharing the same values, the couple knew that they would raise their three sons in a strong Jewish household, including enrolling them in Jewish day school, Krieger Schecter Day School and Beth Tfiloh High School.

As a child, Pam had always watched her mother invest in the Jewish community – even knocking door-to-door during the Associated’s G-Day –and she knew she also wanted to give back. She began her involvement in the Jewish community when she joined Young Women’s Leadership. 

She then joined the Board of the Sinai Hospital Auxiliary and eventually became the President. Other leadership roles she has held were board and officer positions for the National Council of Jewish Women and her Synagogue, Chizuk Amuno.

After her role ended with Sinai Hospital Auxiliary, she had an “exit” interview with Carol Sibel, of blessed memory, who helped her continue her volunteer and leadership roles for The Associated.  While sitting on the executive committee of Chizuk Amuno, she was asked by one of the other officers if she would like to  join the board of what was then Hillel of Greater Baltimore, comprised of the five Hillels from the major area universities (Goucher, Towson University, UMBC, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland, College Park).

Soon, she was tapped to become its president. Yet fate stepped in and “just before I was ready to take office, Hillel of Greater Baltimore decided to disband, with each campus overseeing its own Hillel,” she recalls.

“I am always amazed at how forward thinking our Associated leadership is and am thrilled to be working with this dynamic and creative group of people.”

It was the role as President of Hillel of Greater Baltimore, that led Pam to be in the 1st Cohort of ACHARAI: The Shoshana S. Cardin Leadership t Institute. She then became president of UMBC Hillel and was tasked with forming its first official Board of Directors. By doing this Pam realized she enjoyed the human resources part of volunteering –reaching out to people, helping them to feel that what they have to offer is important and placing them in volunteer roles where they could be successful.

Using these skills, after serving on the board of ACHARAI, she became President. This involvement in the preparation of JEWISH LEADERS THAT LEAD WITH A JEWISH LENS is what led to her be the Co-Chair with Linda A. Hurwitz, of Na’aleh: The Hub for Leadership Learning. 

Na’aleh is the new leadership center for The Associated. It combines ACHARAI, The Darrell D. Friedman Institute for Professional Development and The Associated’s Center for Community Engagement and Leadership under one roof in order to provide community-wide leadership training.

Bringing her love of working with people and encouraging them to rise to the ability continues to guide her in her new role. 

“I believe that many people don’t always think of themselves as leaders or they may be afraid to take on a position of leadership. What I want to do is help them realize what they are capable of,” she says.

It has been stated many times that there will be a huge turnover of lay and professional leadership in the coming years. The Associated has recognized this and has made Na’Aleh an important initiative for our Jewish community. Being a Fellow in the ACHARAI program and working on other community wide programs has helped Pam to understand how important it is to engage all streams of Judaism–to work together toward building a stronger Jewish community.

As a huge Associated fan, she admits how proud she is to be part of an organization known to be intentional in its approach to problems.

“I am always amazed at how forward thinking our Associated leadership is and am thrilled to be working with this dynamic and creative group of people.”

What Pam says is one of the unintended benefits of her volunteer and leadership roles is that she has made many new friends who are like-minded and share the same values that she does. 

Pam is extremely grateful that her three sons, three daughter-in–laws and seven grandchildren, are all engaged in their Judaism, continuing the family’s rich Jewish heritage and committed to the future of the Jewish people.

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