Stephen Knable, 39, of Pikesville, has spent every holiday of his life at Chizuk Amuno Congregation.
Knable is the Mid-Atlantic regional political director for AIPAC. He is also a FY20 director-at-large member for The Associated: Jewish Federations of Baltimore.
He lives with his wife, Talya, 4-year-old son, Jack, and 2-year-old daughter, Leigh. His children attend Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School.
Why has Israel been a focus of your career?
Israel is both what I professionally work on, and what I feel passionate about. It boils down to … security being at the top of my list. To be able to work on that professionally is rewarding.
What are you currently working on?
A good part of my job is working with members of Congress and candidates to help them understand why Israel should be important to them as an elected official. And to educate on the issues and advocate for Israel. And to help politicians develop these relationships with other officials to better advocate for the security of Israel.
I’m passionate about politics and have worked in it for my entire life. It gives me a lot of opportunities to meet a lot of people and be around like-minded people.
What are your High Holiday plans?
[Laughs]. Well, honestly? I have no idea what to do. I’ve spent every holiday of my life at Chizuk Amuno. My family goes back five generations of Chizuk Amuno congregants.
Probably every single Rosh Hashanah, I ate at both my grandparents’ and mother’s house, but I don’t even know about that now.
Tell us more about your family legacy at Chizuk Amuno.
I’m a big believer in tradition and knowing where you came from and growing from the experiences of past generations. I like the fact that both my parents were bar and bat mitzvahed here, and I like that my grandparents stayed with the congregation and moved with the synagogue buildings. There’s something special about that.
What are your goals for the new year?
I would imagine most people’s goals are around adapting to the new reality and what is going to change permanently. So to reassess what’s important with me. The High Holidays offer a chance to take a break and reflect on this.
We can see the end [of the pandemic] in the horizon, but at the same time, it’s almost normalized. So there’s this unknown for what the next several years will look like.
How will my plans for the kids change? What trips will we take? Who is important for me to socialize with? Who should I prioritize? How can I raise the kids differently?
What are your hobbies?
I’m a big gym person. This has forced my wife and I to invest in a home gym.
I love sports, I’m a huge Orioles and Ravens fan. I wanted to start taking my kids to the games, but obviously, we can’t now.
Who are your role models?
My two role models are my parents, mainly for the values that they instilled in me. They are very different people, and because of that I feel like I had a pretty well rounded upbringing, that helped me understand different perspectives, ideas, etc. It comes in handy in my daily life today.
What does your Jewish identity mean to you?
Being Jewish is very important to me. While I am not the most religious person there is, the feeling of community, and being a part of something that has endured for over 5000 years is very impactful.