The Associated Contributors

The Associated Contributors are writers from The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore.

Meet Zac Plotkin


Zac Plotkin looks back fondly at his 14 summers spent at Capital Camps. It was there that he made lifelong friends and garnered the experiences that would later guide him towards his current career path.

In fact, camp made such an impression on this young professional that in his junior year at Towson University, this human resource management major decided to make Jewish camping his profession.

Today, Zac works as an Engagement Coordinator at Camp Airy & Louise. He also participated in E3, a teen professionals’ network, through the JCC, where he hopes to blend what he learned with his ability to connect with campers and the greater community.

Check Out the Gordon Center Fall Lineup


The Gordon Center

With the fall season quickly approaching us, schedules are starting to fill up fast. Mark your calendar and don’t miss out on your chance to check out these featured films at the Gordon Center!

A Serious Man | Monday, November 4 at 1:00 p.m.

Set in the late 1960s, A Serious Man follows university professor Larry Gopnik through a series of personal and professional misfortunes, which lead him to seek understanding from the rabbis at his synagogue. GET TICKETS

Click here to see more of the fall lineup.

Dating Again – Embracing a New Social Environment


Many people say that it’s a couple’s world and indeed, it may seem that way when you have been widowed or divorced. For those who are newly single the perception of a “couple’s world” is especially daunting. Baby boomers who are choosing to date have to learn to embrace a new identity and navigate a new social environment.

After spending decades as a couple, many people face overwhelming feelings of isolation and loneliness when they find themselves suddenly single. People who are now 50 and older most likely met their spouses organically, at work, school, or a social event. When boomers were in college, computers took up entire rooms w and electronic socializing and dating were the stuff of science fiction. Needless to say, dating has changed. Social media and online dating services have made people more accessible to one and other which may be a good thing for people are ready for a new, healthy relationship. But to be ready, it is important to do the work of mourning the loss of your prior relationship and becoming comfortable with yourself and your identity in your “new normal.” Skipping this step and moving too quickly into dating can make you more vulnerable to being exploited or manipulated.

Meet Melanie Shapiro ⁠— Advocate for Change


For Melanie Shapiro, change is a constant in her life. As director of Juvenile Justice Policy for the Maryland Office of the Public Defender, Melanie is an advocate for change (and sometimes for stability, ensuring policies remain unchanged). Today, Melanie’s involvement spreads beyond her professional career, as she leverages her skills and experiences through her involvement with Jewish Professional Women (JPW) and the Baltimore Jewish Council (BJC).

Tell us about your professional life.

I work for the Maryland Office of the Public Defender, in the Government Relations Division. For 15 years I was a juvenile defender and moved into policy work full-time about two years ago. I advocate on behalf of the Office of the Public Defender and our clients on legislative and policy issues year-round and in Annapolis during the 90-day legislative session.

Instagram vs. Reality: Stop Comparing, Start Sharing


Do your online and offline selves align? Join The Associated’s Jewish Professional Women for table conversations focused on personal brand, risk taking, communal involvement and social media.

Meet Laura Rubenstein – Attorney, Mother and Community Leader


Laura Rubenstein is a Partner at Wright, Constable & Skeen, LLP. As a Labor and Employment Attorney, she represents corporate clients and non-profit agencies in a wide range of matters including workplace and sexual harassment charges, wage and hour issues, FMLA disputes, employment contracts and more.

How did you first get involved with The Associated? After graduating from law school, I knew I needed to broaden my social network and meet like-minded young professionals. I quickly joined YLC and became acquainted with some really great folks, many of whom I am still in touch with today. YLC also gave me an opportunity to observe the JCC Board for one year. It was a board full of intelligent and thoughtful leaders. I really enjoyed the experience.

Kate Cohen Is Making Connections in Her Lutherville-Timonium Neighborhood


Kate Cohen

Judaism was always an important part of Kate Cohen’s life. It’s why this former teacher – now turned mother and Macks Center for Jewish Education (CJE) Connector – is hoping others will discover the beauty in Jewish life – in ways that work for their families.

By bringing her creativity and organizing skills to the Lutherville-Timonium neighborhood in which she lives, she is developing a variety of “fun” Jewish experiences for families across her community.

Four Ways to Make a CHANGE at the JCC Community Block Party


The Associated Block Party

Celebrate family and community with The Associated at the Jewish Community Center 6th Annual Block Party! On Sunday, June 2, join in on the fun with a celebration of the vibrant and diverse community of Owings Mills and Baltimore at Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC. The Community block party is a place where organizations, local businesses and vendors combine with fun activities for kids and entertainment for all. Bring the kids for a day of exciting games, fun challenges and playful discoveries. However, there is more than just fun. Here are four ways to make a change at the JCC Community Block Party.

Dov Hoffman Embraces New Experiences


For Dov Hoffman, embracing new experiences is a part of developing as a person and as a professional. From his moving to the Canton area, to taking on a leadership role with the American Marketing Association Baltimore Chapter (AMA Baltimore), not to mention his role on the board of Towson Hillel, Dov’s life is a busy one. Even so, he still finds time to be engaged Jewishly.

Shelley Hendler’s Chapter Two: Exploring the Next Great Thing


From the time she was a teenager, Shelley Hendler worked. First making money babysitting and tutoring in high school, then later as an educator in the Baltimore County school system, then for 12 years, she served as a middle school administrator for Krieger Schechter Day School.

Yet, five years ago, Shelley felt it was time to move on and start her own “chapter two.” Knowing she was still young, and looking to broaden her horizons, this empty-nester wasn’t quite sure what she wanted to do. Then several opportunities came knocking at her door.