The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore held their Annual Meeting on June 19th at Beth Tfiloh Congregation. There were approximately 500 people in attendance. By the end of this month, The Associated will have raised $33 million, according to Marc Terrill, president of The Associated.
Some milestones this year included a record number of students on the first-ever waiting list for a program called Onward Israel. Onward Israel gives college age students the opportunity to live and work in Tel Aviv for a few months.
Another milestone was that the shinshinim program had expanded to eight young Israelis creating relationships with the community and teaching them more about Israel.
A highlight of the evening was keynote speaker Wes Moore. Moore is a native of Baltimore and is the CEO of an anti-poverty force called Robin Hood. He is also a bestselling author, a combat veteran, and a social entrepreneur.
Wes had his first book, “The Other Wes Moore” become a New York Times bestseller. The book is about success and failure in our lives and communities. It was such a successful story that it has been turned into a movie for HBO and has been optioned by executive producer Oprah Winfrey. He has other bestselling books including “The Work,” “Discovering Wes Moore” and “This Way Home.”
The 41-year-old grew up in Baltimore and the Bronx being raised by a single mother. Even though he had a troubled childhood, he graduated Phi Theta Kappa from Valley Forge Military College in 1998 and Phi Beta Kappa from Johns Hopkins University in 2001. “I found myself consistently hurting people that love me, so I could impress people who could care less about me,” Moore said.
Wes was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University in 2004, earning a Master of Letters (MLitt) in International Relations. After that he was deployed to Afghanistan as a captain and paratrooper with the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne. Moore then became a White House Fellow to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Moore began his speech by praising the accomplishments of The Associated. “Love will win. Love will conquer. We watch the progress we have made as a collective community. We can be proud of the progress but we can never be satisfied because we know as long as there are things to fight, we will be there to fight for them. As long as there are troubles we have to overcome we, we were there to overcome them. That’s the collective commitment that the Associated has made and that’s the impact it has made on Baltimore and on Israel and on the diaspora. And that’s the collective partnership we have done together.”
He then went on to compare how similar the black and Jewish communities really were. “Whether it was black and Jewish soldiers who were fighting side by side in World War II. Or whether it was black and Jewish rabbis and ministers who were marching down south. Whether it was black and Jewish students who made their way down from the freedom lines, or it whether it was black and Jewish students who made their way to Charlottesville. We stand united, because that common enemy cannot overtake our kind of life.”