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.
Why did you want to co-chair Keynote this year?
Brad: When we were approached about the opportunity to take this leadership role, we jumped. We’ve attended Keynote for the better part of the last decade. We always find Keynote to be a great opportunity to connect with the community and learn from an interesting speaker on relevant topics.
Melissa: Keynote is definitely one of our favorite events of the year. I always feel like I could spend more time listening to the speakers. They always share such interesting perspectives about their topics.
Brad: That’s true. We often find ourselves talking about what was said at Keynote days and weeks afterward.
Why Bari Weiss?
Brad: Bari Weiss is a wonderful writer, and I’ve seen her speak on a number of television programs. She really stands up for our community. She grew up down the street from the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and brings an interesting perspective to Antisemitism. I recently saw her, and she was speaking about how Antisemitism can be indicative of broader, societal issues than just the Jewish people. I’d love for people to walk away with some talking points on this front.
What would you like to ask her?
Brad: I’d love to know what she reads in the media to stay informed. And, I’ve seen that her twitter often has polarizing comments. I wonder how she digests that – of if she digests it.
Beyond Keynote, how does The Associated fit into your lives?
Melissa: Several years ago, we attended an Oriole Park tour through IMPACT, the young adult division of The Associated. While there, I started talking to another mother who was also active within The Associated. She’s since become one of my closest friends.
Brad: I remember in middle school I was a Top Notch Teen (the TNT summer program at the JCC). It was a great experience that taught me about volunteer service. At the same time, I had the opportunity to help kids form their Jewish identity. And, of course, I developed friendships and bonds that I still have to this day.