Carly Schwartz, Director of Congregational Life and Engagement at Chizuk Amuno Congregation and Schools and an active volunteer with Jewish Volunteer Connection (JVC), grew up in Miami, Florida. Since graduating from the University of Florida, she’s lived in three other cities before making her way to Baltimore, MD. We chatted with Carly to learn about her travels, maintaining her connection to Judaism, and her close encounter with Michelle Obama.

What was your religious background growing up in Florida?

A: Judaism was really important to my parents. Growing up, my family attended a conservative synagogue, Temple Samu-El Or Olam, where I had my Bat Mitzvah. After that, we switched to a Reform synagogue. In high school I was very active in BBYO, and I also attended Alexander Muss High School in Israel. As an adult, Judaism is deeply rooted in my family – my husband and my kids. I’d say we’re culturally Jewish, not religious, but our Jewish identity is extremely important to us, and we absolutely make it a priority. My son and daughter both go to Krieger Schechter Day School and we really enjoy celebrating the Jewish holidays.

How did you remain connected to Judaism in college?

I went to University of Florida and majored in Judaic Studies. I was very active in Hillel and eventually took a job with them while still in college. The University of Florida always has a big celebration for Jewish American Month (JAM) and has a full slate of speakers, activities and events on campus. One year I was the chair of JAM. I then attended the Hornstein Program at Brandeis University and now have a Masters in Jewish Communal Service and an MBA in Nonprofit Management. At Brandeis I interned with local Jewish organizations as a part of my graduate experience.

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The Associated Contributors

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

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