Meet Stan Scherr

Meet Stan Scherr, our Community Connector for the Next Chapter (55+) audience. Born and raised in Baltimore, Stan and his husband now call the Mt. Washington neighborhood their home. Find out why Stan loves the ‘Baltimore Jewish Connection’ and how he’s making a difference in the community.

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

I’m proud to say that I’m from Baltimore.  I grew up in Pimlico, in the Jewish community near Reisterstown Road. As a kid I went to Talmudical Academy. I still have friends from 9th grade that I talk to almost every day. That’s Baltimore. We all stay connected. We all care about each other. My parents were not ultra-orthodox, but we kept a Kosher home, and I went to synagogue every Saturday with my cousin.

I went to Baltimore City College High School and then Baltimore Jr College and graduated from University of Baltimore with a BS degree in accounting. I was a MD State Auditor for 28 years and then became a special ed teacher, which led me to working with Jewish Community Services (JCS). I work with special needs adults, followed by working as a teen outreach worker.

Almost 50 years ago, I came out as a Jewish gay person, when I was 28 years old and never had any issues with anyone. Things were a lot different, but I have wonderful friends. My husband and I bought our house in Mt. Washington 27 years ago.

As someone who grew up in Baltimore, have you seen attitudes towards LGBTQ+ individuals evolve and how has that impacted your experience in the Jewish community?

Years ago, I was involved in a Jewish organization and the topic came up for recruiting new members and asking for donations, and I said, “Well I know lots of Jewish gay people in Baltimore that would love to be part of your organization and they have the means and the funds to help out,” but I got a negative response. As a result, I walked out of the organization and never went back.

Afterwards, someone who was at the meeting called me up to apologize.  A month later, they asked me for resource information about the LGBTQ+ community. As a result of this conversation, the organization has changed and is friendlier towards LGBTQ+ people.

As a Community Connector with the Jewish Connection Network, why do you think the work that you’re doing engaging with people 55+ is so important?

As a Jewish person, when you run into somebody else that’s Jewish, there is automatically a connection. There’s a lot of 55+ individuals that are alone and don’t have anybody or are by themselves. Some may have lost their spouse, or their children moved away, or they’re retired and they’re looking for things to do. I think they feel comfortable with someone Jewish helping to engage and connect them with the greater Jewish community.

When I was training in the Army, if I saw somebody with a Jewish name on their uniform, I’d walk over and automatically have something to say because of the Jewish connection. So, I always relate back to that.  I recently met a woman who was Jewish-by-choice, and since her husband died, she misses the Jewish community because her family here is not Jewish. So, it’s a comfort to be with other Jewish people, I think, at any age.

What do you enjoy most about where you live in Mount Washington and about Baltimore?

What I like about Mt. Washington is that it is very diverse. My next-door neighbor is Catholic, and we always compare being Jewish and Catholic.  There are all different kinds of people here and everybody’s always interested in what I’m doing, and I’m interested in what they’re doing.

As far as Baltimore is concerned, I always describe it as “a big little town.” Even though it’s a city, it’s very small and if you grow up here, everybody knows your business. You tell me your 1st name, and I know all about you. You don’t even have to talk.

The friends I was born with are my true friends. They’re like family. We check in with each other all the time. I go to all their children’s weddings and grandchildren’s b’nei mitzvah.

It’s also always fun to meet somebody that’s new to the area, then you have other things to talk about rather than talking about other people that you grew up with. You talk about what’s going on in the world and what’s going on in their life. So that’s the difference.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be and how would you use it to enhance your work as a connector?

I think my superpower would be anti-prejudice. We all have thoughts about people before we meet. We already have something very figured out about who they are. I would like to change that, so you can meet somebody and be a blank slate. And you could just let them fill it in themselves.