From Philadelphia to North Carolina to Baltimore, Marissa Leff came to Charm City to start her career after graduating from UNC Chapel Hill. Though Philadelphia is her home, she chose to pursue a job in the Fall of 2022 at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. The only problem was — all her friends were back home. 

We sat down with Marissa to talk about how she connected with YAD — The Associated’s Young Adult Division — and how joining their VOLO Kickball team has led to a whole new group of friends.

What was your experience like when arriving in Baltimore?

I moved to Baltimore without knowing anyone, so when I first moved I made a concerted effort to be social by signing up for random things like Challah Bake at Chabad and ultimate frisbee at Patterson Park. While not all of these activities were my forte, they allowed me to start meeting people.

How did you connect with The Associated and YAD?

It was at one of those Challah Bake at Chabad during one of the first weeks I moved here. At the event, I met someone who added me to a Facebook Group. It was in that group that I saw Sarah [Machlis]’s post about a Kickball team and decided to join. Since then I have participated in various YAD events.

How has YAD and Kickball helped you find your place here?

In high school, I was very active in my synagogue youth group and then I joined a Jewish sorority in college. So when I moved to Baltimore, I was searching for a Jewish community inclusive of all Jewish denominations, specifically for me inclusive of my reformed Judaism and culturally Jewish identity. YAD’s Kickball team was the perfect avenue for me to meet other Jewish people who share similar values with me. I love hanging out and meeting people in a social setting knowing that we have Judaism in common!

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

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