Marc Grossblatt of Pikesville might not get paid for his leadership in the Baltimore Jewish community, but as a longtime volunteer with a slew of local institutions, including Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, Repair the World Baltimore and the Baltimore Jewish Council, he can certainly count community service as one of his areas of expertise.
Grossblatt, 35, has been a Baltimorean for most of his life. He grew up in Timonium before moving to New Hampshire for two years of college, but returned home to finish his undergrad at Villa Julie College, now Stevenson University, in 2007. He earned a master’s degree in library information sciences from Long Island University in 2013, and has been working as a benefit authorizer with the Social Security Administration for 10 years.
On top of his day job, Grossblatt is currently a cohort in the Baltimore Jewish Council’s Leadership Development Program, and is always looking for opportunities to give back, both in and out of Baltimore’s Jewish community.
When did you first start your volunteering in the Jewish community?
It all started with Baltimore Hebrew. I was looking for a young adult group to get involved with and had been an active member of the synagogue for a long time. I was brought up Conservative, and was bar mitzvahed at Beth El, but I made the move to Reform. Baltimore Hebrew has been a good fit and I’ve met a lot of really good friends there.
I started working with Chai Life. That’s Baltimore Hebrew’s young people/20s to 30s group. I was the one who helped Chai Life and Repair the World start a partnership doing community service events. That was about three years ago. The groups have always had a connection — they used to play trivia with us when they had fellows here.
Tell us about your work with the Baltimore Jewish Council.
I applied to be a cohort in the Leadership Development Program, which is run every two years. Through all of my volunteer experience with Baltimore Hebrew and Repair the World, I see myself finding some kind of leadership role in the Jewish community in Baltimore moving forward. That was really why I was so interested in doing that program.
We meet once a month and learn about different topics. Some of the topics are government relations, security issues in the Jewish community, interfaith engagement. There are different topics pertaining to the Jewish community each time we meet.
Many of the organizations you’ve volunteered with are Jewish. Is there another common thread between them?
A lot of the service work with Repair the World is done in communities that are not Jewish. They’re interested in helping communities that are underserved and in need of assistance. So there is Jewish work but it’s also related to other issues going on in other communities. That’s where I see myself, too.
Are there any organizations, Jewish or non-Jewish, that you haven’t worked with yet but would like to work with?
I’ve done a few programs with Jews United for Justice, but it’s been very minimal. I’d like to do more work with them. I’d also like to do more work with other synagogues in the Reform movement. Maybe Bolton Street Synagogue. I’m interested in doing some more learning programs with other temples in addition to BHC.
When you’re not volunteering what’s your favorite thing to do?
I’m a big Orioles and Ravens fan. I like sports, and I like music and I like to visit different restaurants in Baltimore.
What are you listening to?
I really enjoy Latin music. I just came back from Cuba and picked up an interest in it. I want to learn to salsa dance.
I ended up going there on a cruise, and I want to go back. It was a life changing experience. I’ve never seen the poverty like I saw there in my life. The people are trying to live normal lives, but it’s hard when you’re living on $40 per week.
They also have a thriving Jewish community. I had no idea. There are 1,500 Jewish people in Havana.
What about the Orioles? How do you think 2019 will turn out?
I think the new general manager will make us better, but it could be three or four rough seasons, maybe longer. Hopefully not 14, but we’ll see.