Meet Rachel Samakow

Coming to a new city is never easy but discovering a community that gives you a sense of purpose can connect you to your new home.

Originally from Pittsburgh, Rachel moved to Baltimore after receiving her bachelors’ degree in 2009 and then beginning law school at the University of Baltimore.

After permanently relocating to Baltimore, she soon found her niche in the Jewish community. It all started with one event, that has since grown into an active life in Jewish Baltimore.

Baltimore is so similar to Pittsburgh that it really felt like home when I moved here.

How did you end up in Baltimore?
I originally moved to Baltimore to go to law school, after graduating from GW (George Washington University) in DC. One of the things they tell you before going to law school is to choose a school in a state where you would want to practice. I have some family in Bethesda so Maryland seemed like it would be a great fit. Baltimore is so similar to Pittsburgh that it really felt like home when I moved here. I love that there is always something to do, always something to check out. There are mini pockets of adventure pretty much everywhere you turn – it’s a great city for exploring.

How did you become involved in IMPACT?
A friend invited me to the Tu Bishvat seder where I met some truly incredible people. From there I started going to more events. Before I knew it, I was a CHAT hostess and on the Young Professionals Committee (YPC) helping plan events with The Associated.

Have you enjoyed your experience as a CHAT host?
I had such an incredible time. The CHAT program itself is great and you really get a chance to know people in a more intimate setting. Like the program name suggests, I enjoyed great conversations which have led to some really wonderful friendships. It was also an opportunity for me to get involved in The Associated community in a more IMPACTful way- pun intended. It’s been great to be a part of an organization that involves different types of young adults with different experiences.

What do you think Jewish young adults are looking for?
I think it’s having a place. It’s being part of the community and understanding and exploring your Jewish identity. I think it’s finding where you fit and having the opportunity to participate in activities that allow you to give back to the community and develop that identity.

Is there a fun fact about yourself that you would like to share?
In college I got into white-water kayaking and can roll over in a kayak. I love hiking and camping but I’m probably better known for my cupcake making skills. I’m also a pretty terrible guitarist, but hopefully more practice will change that.

Who has had a big influence on your life?
It’s hard to narrow down to just one person, but I think the advice that I’m always surprised by and resonates with me the most is from my younger sister, Becca. Her advice is always an incredible combination of empathy and humor, not to mention she has a gift for directness. I look up to her, but that may be because she’s an inch taller.

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