Celebrating a Year of Milestones and Looking Ahead: The Jewish Connection Network Annual Meeting

At the end of May 2024, we held our Annual Meeting, which brought together friends, board and committee members and volunteers to reflect on the past year and look forward to the future. Our executive director, Addie Lewis Klein, highlighted our achievements in the fiscal year 2024 and set the stage for exciting new initiatives coming in FY2025.

Thanks to the unwavering dedication of our team, we made a significant impact, touching the lives of 2,573 individuals through our various initiatives.

Building Relationships and Fostering Community

Our central strategy and philosophy has been relationship-based engagement. We believe in getting to know people, helping them connect with one another, and encouraging them to take their next step in their Jewish journey. We’re proud to report that we’ve had in-depth conversations with 640 people, half of whom were new to us.

This approach is especially crucial for those who may feel on the periphery of Jewish life—whether they are in multifaith relationships, are people of color, LGBTQ+, have disabilities, live outside traditional geographic centers, or are Russian-speaking or Israeli-born. We also focus on engaging families with children 18 and under, single parents and individuals aged 55+, many of whom are seeking new communal ties.

Our mission is to create a Jewish community that is truly diverse and inclusive, where everyone sees themselves reflected and feels at home.

Community Connectors

Last year, we announced our ambitious plan to triple the size of our Connectors Cohort and shift the focus to 1:1 grassroots engagement. Led by Erica Bloom, with support from Brenda Footer and Amy Goldberg, we expanded the cohort from 10 to 30, a goal we reached ahead of schedule.

PJ Library and Family Engagement

Our PJ Library family engagement platform, spearheaded by Rachel Pototsky, has been a vibrant hub of activity. We took Tot Shabbat on the road, making it more accessible to families across the Baltimore region. We also expanded our partnerships with Beth Tfiloh and Krieger Schechter, encouraging families to explore day school education through collaborative events. A special highlight was our PJ Library birthday party concert at the B&O Railroad Museum.

Disability and Inclusion

Rachel Turniansky and Martha Goodman, our disability and inclusion champions, have been hard at work providing invaluable consulting to our partner agencies and advocacy services to 41 families. They hosted 10 gatherings for the Jewish deaf community and ensured accessibility at many community events through captioning and ASL interpretation.


Led by Alli Berger, Jodi Teitelman and Kate Kirby, we reimagined our volunteering programs to be more intentional about fostering connections among participants. Volunteers gathered to connect, learn, and make a difference at our Mitzvah Month, MLK Day and Good Deeds Day community volunteering events. We also connected 133 individuals with 49 service partners for one-time or ongoing direct volunteer service. Our community’s generosity shined bright as we donated almost 19,000 meals to those experiencing food insecurity in Baltimore through Bunches of Lunches and the Thanksgiving Casserole Challenge.

Israel Engagement

In response to the tragic events of Oct. 7 and the resulting war, we shifted our Israel-related programs to help people connect personally with the unfolding situation. We invited individuals to make bracelets displaying the names of hostages and pray daily for their safe release. Maian Rahvalschi, The Associated’s community schlicha (emissary), has been tirelessly engaging with small groups to provide meaning and support during this difficult time. Plus, Gabby Burger, in partnership with Linda Hurwitz and Lauren Braunstein, kept our Momentum cohort together when we postponed our trip to Israel from November to July.

Behind the Scenes: Operations Team

None of our successes would be possible without our Operations team, led by Abigail Malischostak. This dedicated group works behind the scenes every day, ensuring our website is up to date,  our materials are ready, our data is analyzed, and much more. Special thanks to Laura Wilson, Abbi Sacks, Kate Kirby and Dazia Wallerson, for their incredible support and flexibility.

We are immensely proud of what we’ve achieved this past year and eagerly look forward to the future. Stay tuned for more updates and join us as we continue to build a welcoming, inclusive, and vibrant Jewish community for all.

Enjoy photos from our Annual Meeting:

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