It All Begins At Home

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Every parent wants to see their children thrive and become successful in life.

So what’s the secret to raising successful Jewish adults? For Pikesville residents Stuart and Joan Schoenfeld, it began by creating a uniquely Jewish home, filled with openness, laughter and deep Jewish roots.


Our cover story this week by JT reporter Shani Goloskov features the Schoenfeld family and their two daughters, Devorah and Rachel, who both rabbis of opposite sects. Rabbi Rachel is ordained as a Reconstructionist, while Rabbi Devorah is open Orthodox.

Stuart and Joan, both native Baltimoreans, moved to Toronto in 1970 when Stuart accepted a position as a professor of sociology at York University in Toronto. So their daughters were born and raised in a very diverse multicultural environment.


“Our daughters … experienced the Jewish world as pluralistic, and that … Jewish pluralism was a good thing,” Stuart said.

So how did two sisters with the same upbringing and similar childhoods end up in such similar yet different places?

“I feel like we’ve taken the values our parents taught us and are living them out in our different ways,” Devorah said.

Rachel agrees, and loves that with Judaism, “the way things are are not the way things need to be” – that it is possible, by working with God, for improvement and change to happen. This message of change is also found in a key lesson Rachel gained from parents.

“[They taught me] that changing the world is what it’s about, and … Judaism and Jewish community can give you the strength to do that,” Rachel said.

And speaking of strength … the Tour de Simcha will take place on July 16, where two women from Baltimore will ride 100 miles to benefit Chai Lifeline, an international children’s health support network providing emotional, social, and financial support to children with serious illness. JT reporter Sydney Kligman spoke with both Baltimore participants – Esther Ehrman of Pikesville and Devora Adler of Pikesville – and discovered what motivated them to ride.

In other news, civic engineer David Thaler, a lifelong Baltimore resident and member of the Jewish community, will be presented with the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) Award at the NSPE 2019 Conference in Kansas City on July 19. The JT sat down with David and got his thoughts on receiving the award.

Be sure to mark your calendars. The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore and the Darrell Friedman Institute for Professional Development (DJI) at the Weinberg Center, are hosting “DFI JPRO Day,” at Chizuk Amuno Congregation, Aug. 8, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Also, Ner Tamid – Greenspring Valley Synagogue is planning a bus trip to the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City on Sunday, Aug. 4. Registration for both events is expected to fill up quickly, so read the details in this issue of the JT, sign up and go!

Shabbat Shalom.

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