Meet Rob Goldstein

Rob Goldstein with his family

Rob Goldstein is not willing to admit defeat. That’s why when a doctor told him and his wife, Rebecca, not to have high expectations for their three-year-old daughter, who was diagnosed with various developmental delays, they refused to accept his conclusion.   

And that day, he made a commitment that he would never give up. He and Rebecca would do everything possible to make sure that their daughter would live her dreams. 

Today, Sofia, now 21, is following her passion and working to pursue a career in either eldercare or childcare, while volunteering in the community through Jewish Community Services (JCS). And Rob continues to bring the passion and drive he gave to his daughter to making sure other families who have children with disabilities find the resources they need. 

How One Person Can Make a Difference 

Rob grew up in Randallstown, in a traditional Jewish suburban family. Upon graduation from high school, he attended Drexel University in Philadelphia. He joined a fraternity, which would ultimately give him his first taste of the impact one can make on another person’s life.  

Together, he and his fraternity brothers started a philanthropy committee, and one of their first projects was working with a domestic violence shelter in West Philadelphia. 

“Annually, we would take the children to the zoo. We also prepared lunches for them. They didn’t have a home life like I had growing up and we all became close to them,” he recalls. 

“It made me realize that I grew up in a bubble. This was an eye-opening experience that exposed me to the harsh realities of life. It made me appreciate what I had and how I could make a difference in someone else’s life.” 

Following graduation, Rob remained in Philadelphia. He and other friends volunteered with the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania (CHOP), volunteering time and raising money to provide resources to parents whose children needed to reside there for a long time due to their illnesses. 

It was while he was working in Philadelphia as a CPA, that Rob returned to Baltimore for a wedding – and it was there that he would meet his future wife, Rebecca.   

“They sat me at the singles table. She was sitting there too, but next to a good-looking guy. I assumed he was her boyfriend. Fortunately, for me, I soon found out it was her brother. I danced with her the rest of the evening, then asked her out.” 

That began a 12-month, I-95 relationship, that would lead to marriage and Rob moving back to his hometown. 


As a young boy, Rob had virtually no involvement with JCC nor The Associated in general, spending most of his time building friendships with the neighborhood kids, often over pick-up games in the court. Now, having been away for over 10 years, he was looking to reconnect and develop new relationships. 

The JCC soon became a second home. He joined the Men’s Over 30 Softball league and made new friends. He also reconnected with old friends. 

Robert and Rebecca’s greatest decision was enrolling both their children, Samuel, and later Sofia when each turned two, at the Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC’s Early Childhood Learning Center.  Rob coached his children’s sports teams and during Samuel’s participation in the Maccabi program, volunteered as a Jr. Maccabi basketball coach.  

A real game changer for Robert and Rebecca was enrolling Sofia at the JCC’s Camp Milldale and later Habimah Arts Camp as part of the inclusion program where she felt right at home. 

“The best part of the inclusion camp,” he says, “was that no one looked at her as an inclusion kid and she didn’t feel like one. This was true inclusion and J Camps gave her enormous self-confidence, as well as provide tons of fun!”   

Before he knew it, he was asked to serve on the JCC’s Health and Wellness Committee and later, on the JCC Board of Directors, serving as chair of the Special Needs Committee where he helped define the role that the JCC should play in providing programming and promoting even greater inclusivity.  

Supporting Their Daughter Becomes a Mission 

While all this was going on, Rob and Rebecca continued to advocate for the best cultural, educational, and social environment for both their children.   After pre-school, they enrolled Samuel at Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School; he recently graduated Towson University with his accounting degree and is working in commercial real estate.   

Through intense advocacy and mediation efforts, Rob and Rebecca got placement for Sofia at The Harbor School, where she began to really thrive academically and socially.  She played JV volleyball and basketball and from day one, performed in every school theater production. And she became a Bat Mitzvah. 

It’s now come full circle, as Sofia became a Habimah teen at the JCC, assisting younger campers and currently volunteers as a counselor through The Friendship Circle of Baltimore, where she can help provide a meaningful summer experience to adults with developmental disabilities.   

And through it all, Rob continued to seek out other organizations in the community that could support not just his daughter’s goals, but other families as well. 

During this time, he co-chaired the Baltimore Jewish Abilities Alliance (BJAA) task force and was involved with the launch of the BJAA initiative, which was a convener of resources and information for individuals with disabilities and their loved ones during each phase of the life cycle. He joined the Caring Commission of The Associated, and later the Caring & Community Relations Managing Council #1. 

Today, he says he wants to make it easier for families to find the best supports to help their children succeed, by bringing greater visibility to organizations that are doing great work and making an impact in the special needs community.  

“Most of the entities that I have encountered, all have limited resources but by partnering, we can maximize what we have. We need to collaborate and increase awareness of what is out there so that we can positively impact more people in the community.” 

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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.

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