Laura Rubenstein has an eye on the mission

Laura Rubenstein
Laura Rubenstein (Maximilian Franz)

The JCC of Greater Baltimore has been a part of Laura Rubenstein’s life for a long time. It’s where she spent her summers growing up, where she sent her children when they were toddlers and where she has spent more than a decade as a board member.

“I’ve been involved with the JCC since I was a kid,” Rubenstein said in an email. “I played racquetball with my dad at the Park Heights J, spent my summers as a camper at Camp Milldale, hung out at the Owings Mills teen lounge where I learned to play billiards and ping-pong, and then lifeguarded at the indoor pool during high school.”

This past summer, she got involved in a new way, by taking on the role of board chair. For about 12 years, Rubenstein has been a member of the JCC board, and she is looking forward to this two-year term as its chair.

“I’m excited to partner with Barak Hermann, the CEO of the JCC,” Rubenstein said. “Barak works with an incredible team of leaders who operate the three ‘centers’ of the JCC — Youth & Families, Arts & Culture, and Sports & Wellness. The JCC’s mission is to create meaningful experiences and opportunities to enrich, connect and celebrate a vibrant Jewish community. With an eye on that mission, over the next two years, my goal is to continue to ensure that we have the best amenities, programs and offerings that bring people together.”

Rubenstein lives with her husband, Jason, and their two teenage boys. The family belongs to Beth Tfiloh Congregation and also supports The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore, the Pearlstone Center and The Soul Center.

Rubenstein is a lawyer and a partner in Wright, Constable & Skeen, LLP’s Labor & Employment Practice Group.

A native Baltimorean, Rubenstein had her bat mitzvah at Har Sinai Congregation and attended the University of Maryland, College Park, where she got a bachelor’s in psychology. After working in the professional world for four years after college, she decided to go to law school.

“I had always wanted to be a lawyer, plus my parents suggested law school would be a good foundation for a strong-willed little girl,” Rubenstein said.

She decided to attend the University of Baltimore. During her third year, she participated in a court competition. Her team’s coach was an adjunct professor and a partner at a boutique labor and employment law firm. After the competition, he offered her a job.

“From there, I’ve been fortunate to be mentored by intelligent and experienced employment and business lawyers who have helped shape my career and build my practice,” Rubenstein said. “I love working with companies and strategizing ways to ensure their employees are both happy and productive.”

As a young adult, Rubenstein decided to get involved with The Associated through its Young Adult Division, now called IMPACT. That’s where she got to observe the JCC board for a year and see it in action.

“I was so impressed by the depth and breadth of issues and the caliber of professionals and leadership that when I was invited to join the Board a few years later, it was an honor,” Rubenstein said. “That was about 12 years ago. It’s been an incredible learning experience for me and I’ve made great friends and found wonderful mentors along the way.”

Maury Garten, who served as chair of the JCC board from 2017 to 2019, asked her to serve as board chair, Rubenstein said.

The timing means she is taking on the role of board chair during the pandemic, which has presented challenges for the JCC, as it has for all kinds of organizations. But Rubenstein said that the JCC has approached the challenge in a positive way. The JCC has pivoted by moving its film festival online, creating virtual exercise programs and an outdoor fitness facility and starting the Gordon Outdoors drive-in movie venue.

“We continued to communicate with our members and demonstrate trust with our safety standards as we welcomed back hundreds of children to our camps, new infants and toddlers to our school, and new members to our outdoor rec park,” Rubenstein said. “The JCC campuses will always be a welcome community gathering place.”

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