I have been privileged to be a part of The Jewish Federations of North America’s (JFNA) National Young Leadership Cabinet for the past six years. It’s an incredible program where I am part of a network of Jewish leaders throughout North America and learn from the best practices in each community.

I recently participated in a Cabinet Study Mission to Riga, Latvia and Budapest, Hungary. We learned about the rich Jewish history in each area and saw the current state of the Jewish communities.

In Riga, we visited a Jewish school, funded by World ORT, that is increasing enrollment and quickly outgrowing its space. We saw the only remaining synagogue in Riga in its Old City and met its incredible rabbi.

In Hungary, one of the highlights was traveling three hours from Budapest to visit Camp Szarvas (funded by JDC and JFNA). We toured the camp and met with families who were refugees from Odesa, Ukraine.

We all had tears listening to their stories of what they have endured during this war. This was especially moving for me as I know that Baltimore has a long relationship with Odesa as a sister city. When I mentioned I was from Baltimore, their faces lit up as they are so fond of our partnership. I became a lot more familiar with what we do in Israel and overseas as we had representatives from The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) with us on our mission. 

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

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