Meet Rich Topaz

A New York native, Rich Topaz, who today chairs the Ben-Gurion Society (BGS), recalls his moving to Baltimore and the warm welcome he received by the Baltimore Jewish community and IMPACT, The Associated’s young adult division.

“My wife, Heidi, is from Baltimore but I am not,” explains Rich. “So, when we moved here five years ago, I didn’t really have a social or professional network. That’s where The Associated, particularly IMPACT, stepped in.”

Rich knew he wanted to connect with other young professionals, and quickly found himself attending networking events, building relationships and ultimately participating in Young Leadership Council (YLC), a professional development program through IMPACT.

Today, five years later, Rich’s involvement with The Associated has grown tremendously. Rich sits on the boards for IMPACT, The Louise D. and Morton J. Macks Center for Jewish Education (CJE), and The Center for Community Engagement and Leadership (CCEL).

“There is a theme with the agencies I am involved in, which is that part of their missions is to provide entry points for people – both native Baltimoreans and transplants like myself – to become more involved in the Jewish community.”

As chair of the previously mentioned Ben-Gurion Society, a part of IMPACT, Rich helps young professionals who are also donors of The Associated. Throughout the year BGS hosts multiple events, with their next event coming up in May.

“It’s something we’re very excited about,” says Rich. “On May 1 we will be having our first Meeting with a Macher, which will be part of a larger leadership series speaking with leaders in our community. For this event BGS members will hear from Ronald J. Daniels, president of Johns Hopkins University, at the university’s incubator space. We think it will be a great opportunity to hear from Mr. Daniels and to see some of the exciting things the university is doing.”

In addition to his positions within The Associated, Rich has a full-time career as a real estate attorney with Miles & Stockbridge P.C. At the end of the day, however, for Rich spending time with his family is most important. A big fan of sports, and baseball in particular, Rich looks forward to taking his youngest son (born this December) to his first baseball game.

“We took my oldest to Camden Yards when he was only a few months old. Hopefully he’ll be able to follow the game a little better this year.”

At the same time, Rich can’t wait to get his two boys more involved in giving back to the Jewish community and to teach them the same Jewish values that were instilled in him when he was younger.

“My kids are still fairly young,” says Rich, “but my oldest is of the age where we’re trying to teach him about giving back, particularly to those less fortunate. We’re looking for events we can take him to, like Mitzvah Day. I’m looking forward to getting out and volunteering as a family.”

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