On Sunday, Sept. 22, The Pearlstone Center celebrated its 18th anniversary with a sold-out farm-to-table reception. In the Farm Pavillion, guests enjoyed a farm-to-fork meal featuring wine pairings from Kedem, with an eye toward a modern presentation and old-world respect for the environment. Other food sponsors included Maryland Kosher Foods and The Sweet Trading Company.
The newly-planted vineyards and dining in the beautiful outdoor setting brought together those who have contributed to the successful mission envisioned by the Pearlstone family in establishing a world-class Jewish retreat center.
Event co-chairs Emile Bendit and P.J. Pearlstone created the evening to showcase Pearlstone’s sustainable, educational and Jewish values. “It’s a lovely evening to celebrate 18 years of Pearlstone. We’re lucky to have them in the community,” said Rabbi Joshua Gruenberg of Chizuk Amuno Congregation in Pikesville.
Pearlstone’s longest-serving board member, Eli Schlossberg, has been with Pearlstone since its inception and addressed the gathering. “Executive Director Jakir Manela and Deputy Director Eve Wauchhaus created this special environment for all to enjoy,” he said.
“It is a blessing to be here with you tonight,” said Pearlstone’s CEO Jakir Manela. “We work in deep physical relationship with this one living earth we all share. It teaches us about connection and abundance.”
“We gather here because this is a place where we can touch the immensity and beauty of such truths, not only with our intellect but our senses and with each other,” he said.
Rabbi Irwin Kula, a seventh- generation rabbi from New York City and President of Clal (the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership), was the featured guest speaker.
“Pearlstone transcends the secular-religious divide and is emergent in its approach. It represents pluralism.” Rabbi Kula said, “It integrates the land, the people and Judaism in a very open way. Boundaries are fluid. Pearlstone is at the cutting edge.”
The evening was capped off with live music, storytelling around a campfire and s’mores.
“The climate crisis, racism and injustice, the lack of civil discourse and the desperate need to create common ground across differences; these are not problems out there, they are issues right here, impacting all of us …” Pearlstone board president Aaron Max told the gathering. “This is The Pearlstone Campus for Living Judaism where we bring all this together, with all kinds of people and with our hearts, to build a brighter future for all of us. For our children and grandchildren. Thank you for being here and joining us on this incredible journey for the past 18 years.”