Lifeline

Finding Her Niche – Meet Rachel Samakow

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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.

Volunteering Through the Eyes of a Retiree

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Today I popped into the main office of Miguel’s high school to request an early dismissal for him. I was bringing him to his sixth and final appointment with an angel… a pro-bono dentist who treated and saved this 16 year old, his teeth and his smile.

My experience helping newly arrived individuals and families began when I was the assistant director of volunteer services with Jewish Family Services (now Jewish Community Services). At the time we were setting up households and arranging transportation through Mitzvah Mobility for Russian refugees.

Now, 35 years later, as a retiree, I volunteer to provide a more direct service to a family from Guatemala seeking asylum. I became involved after receiving an email from the team at Jewish Volunteer Connection (JVC), who had been asked to solicit Spanish speaking volunteers to assist with the many tasks of welcoming and offering support to families fleeing from the horrors of their native homes and their experiences at the border.

Roland Park Country School is Making Space for Wellness

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At Roland Park Country School, we want our students to live healthy and balanced lives; in fact, it’s one of our core values. This starts with an academic program that challenges and engages our girls, while allowing them to be children and teenagers. But wellness goes beyond the student workload and through intentional programming at every grade level, student-led initiatives, and resources for parents and guardians, we make sure that every student has a strong social-emotional support system to help them be healthy and well.

To support this effort, a new wellness suite was recently constructed on the RPCS campus, with offices for several members of the Student Services team, including the Director of Counseling, counselors at each division level,  and the counseling intern, as well as the Director of Leadership and Entrepreneurship. The inviting offices are spacious enough for the counselors to hold classes, but are also comfortable for private meetings with students. Student artwork decorates the suite and a mindfulness wall in the cheery hallway displays several take-one cards for students, offering tips on wellness topics including desk stretches and breathing techniques. Slips are also available in the wellness suite for students to confidentially request one-on-one meetings with a counselor. “This is a space that students can access at all times,” said Makeda King-Smith, Upper School Counselor. “It’s so important to help students with stress and anxiety as early as we can.”

Five Good Reasons why You may Need to Spend HOURS in Urgent Care

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The last time I asked for a show of hands of who wanted to spend one single second more than is absolutely necessary in emergency or urgent care, despite my dramatic attempt at trying to up-sell the charm of the place and the INTERESTING PEOPLE (ahem) WHO WORK THERE, the results were as you would expect. Zero hands raised. We all have busy lives with carefully measured out schedules, and so when the need for unexpected urgent medical care presents itself we hope for the best to solve the problem as fast as possible. Healthcare marketing jumps right on the bandwagon, advertising minimal wait times and quick in and out care. Sometimes this works just great and is exactly what is needed, but sometimes it isn’t, and I want to present to you a few situations in which hanging around for a bit in emergency or urgent care really is to your benefit. Let’s see if I can convince you.

Zack Garber: Busy Helping Baltimore

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To pin down Zack Garber’s involvement in the Baltimore Jewish community, and the greater Baltimore community, would be difficult. From his professional career as a financial advisor on the Garber Wealth Management team, to his time spent on various boards, task forces and volunteer organizations (not to mention a personal project or two), Zack’s day is filled with one goal – how to help others. Zack sat down with us earlier this month to give us a glimpse into his day-to-day, what inspires him and what advice he has for those looking to change the narrative.

Did you grow up in the area?

I did. I grew up in the Owings Mills area, went to Beth Tfiloh for elementary school and then went to McDonogh for middle and high school. After that I took a training program in London for four months before moving to New York and then ultimately earned my MBA at Penn.

Calling all Baltimore Storytellers

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The Saul Zaentz Innovation Fund at Johns Hopkins has recently announced the opening of the latest round of applications to its groundbreaking program to help build a thriving film and media community in Baltimore.

The Fund is open to all Baltimore area residents and applicants are encouraged to apply by December 15 to one of three categories: narrative; documentary; or, VR/AR immersive media.

“We’re looking to help level the playing field for Baltimore creatives of all backgrounds, at all levels and stages of their careers,” says Annette Porter, director of the fund. “As we head into our fifth round, we are excited to open up new avenues for people to share stories that have been unheard or excluded.”

This year’s new Fellows will be announced on January 17. Throughout the Winter, Fellows will receive support of their projects through a series of workshops and mentorships with industry experts and then be eligible to apply for Production Funding in 2019. Over the last three years, the Fund has supported 70 Fellows and awarded over $900,000 to 41 projects.

Meet Brad and Melissa Hecht

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On November 20, The Associated will present its signature Keynote event, “After Pittsburgh: Pride, People & Power.” Held at Woodholme Country Club, the evening will feature a conversation with Bari Weiss, New York Times staff writer and editor and author of How to Fight Anti-Semitism.

Baltimore natives Bradley and Melissa Hecht are co-chairing the event with Morry and Lisa Zolet. We spoke to the Hechts about Keynote, Weiss and their involvement in the community.

Meet Mike Fuld

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Mike Fuld will never forget the first time he saw his wife, Samantha. He was working at Kutz Camp as a staff member; so was Samantha.

Mike and Samantha first met in 2006. They happened to both be assigned to work on an all-camp evening program. The rest, as Mike puts it, was history! They were married eight years later in 2014.

Overnight camp. For Mike, it was not only where he met his future wife, but the place where he spent more than 20 summers as a camper and a staff member. It was where he formed lifelong friendships, enjoyed summers filled with swimming, climbing the tower and rocking out during song sessions. It’s where he celebrated his Jewish identity through immersive, yet creative, programs that emphasized Jewish values and traditions.

“What also really stands out about camp is that you gain independence and the experience of living as a community,” says Mike whose parents also attended Jewish camp.

Get to Know Jeffrey Kahn, PhD, MPH

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A Q&A with Jeffrey Kahn, PhD, MPH, the Andreas C. Dracopoulos Director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and Levi Professor of Bioethics and Public Policy. Dr. Kahn is also the featured presenter for The Associated’s upcoming November 5 Maimonides Society program “Genetic Tinkering: Could We? Should We?”

What brought you to Baltimore? It was really a return to Baltimore for us, in that I did an MPH at Johns Hopkins in the mid 1980’s while I was a doctoral student at Georgetown and I always hoped I might have the chance to come back to the faculty. I was recruited back in 2011 and became director of the Berman Institute in 2016.

Meet Bill Robinson

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Bill Robinson admits that he may not be in Baltimore today, as the first executive director of The Associated’s new Center for Leadership, if it were not for a conversation he had with his sociology professor his sophomore year at college.

At the time, he was pursuing a degree in computer science. Yet, he was fascinated by society’s challenges.

“I started college thinking I would be addressing difficult problems that would ultimately yield solutions,” he recalls. “But my professor made me realize that the challenges we face in the social world are not easy to solve. In fact, sometimes we don’t know where to begin, as we can’t quite figure out what the problem is. To tackle that was thrilling – and set me on a path I never expected to be on.”

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